Get pickled on the courts

PickleballThe age-friendly sport becoming popular across North America has come to Sun Peaks. Pickleball is a combination of tennis, badminton and ping pong, and requires the hand-eye coordination of other court games, without the fast paced exhaustion participants feel after a tennis match.

Played with a lightweight, perforated whiffle ball and paddles that are smaller than tennis rackets but bigger than ping pong paddles, the logistics of Pickleball make it simple for beginners to pick up the game.

“Pickleball is for all ages, it’s easier than tennis — you don’t have to serve 100 miles an hour and you only play, basically, within the confines of the tennis court service lines,” explains Allen Field, Pickleball player and resident of Sun Peaks. “It’s such an easy game and the rules are really simple.”

Field explains “it’s really good fun” and is a sport that participants can dictate the pace to suit their abilities. “You put into it what you want to get out of it,” he says. “If you want to play singles you’ll get a bigger workout, singles is tough, whereas doubles is a lot easier on the body.”

Pickleball appeals to a more senior crowd, because of its moderate pace, but also due to the social aspect of the drop-in style organization of the matches.

The people were very welcoming for beginners,” says Martin Pitt, about his first time joining the Kamloops Pickleball Society (KPS). “They would easily allow me to play with them in a game. It was very easy for me to get started.”

With games happening daily from 9 a.m. until noon at McDonald Park in Kamloops, getting involved as a beginner isn’t difficult. KPS Vice President, Thor Fridriksson, says the game’s participation numbers are rising so quickly they’re currently working on grants and proposals to accommodate the sports increasing popularity.

“The sport is actually growing too fast for us, we have more players than space,” he explains. “We’re always working on getting more space.”

Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality had some feedback from the community about the sport and decided to paint Pickleball lines on the tennis courts at the Sports Centre. Although they don’t yet have service lines, the courts are available to Pickleball players and nets and paddles can be rented from the Sports Centre during the center’s opening hours, between 1 and 7 p.m.

Pitt and Field are available to run introductory session should any Sun Peaks residents or guests be interested in joining the Pickleball revolution.

“Pickleball is heavily centered with senior participants but it works well for all ages,” explains Pitt. “It’s really quite casual and friendly. I’ve never heard an angry word on the court.”