Racquetball Equipment

Does anyone play pickleball in Prince George?

Coaches from clubs in northern British Columbia earn Level 1 certification in the National Coaching Certification Program course

Ralph Wood has his own theory as to why pickleball is one of the fastest growing participatory sports in the world.

Not only is it a lot of fun to play, but for beginners especially, it doesn’t take months of practice to figure out how to get the ball over the net.

“It’s an easy sport to learn and the point is, it doesn’t take long before you get the kind of shots that make you a hero,” said Wood, Prince George Tennis and Pickleball pickleball coach. Club.

“I taught tennis for years and it took me three months to find someone to do rally and volleyball, here we can do it in 60 minutes. We can get people to do things you wouldn’t expect someone to do in an hour. Someone told me that pickleball is much like any addiction, but it’s almost worse. It’s almost like crack when you take it, you just want more, well it’s the same, and it’s healthy.

Wood was one of three local pickleball enthusiasts who signed up two weekends ago for the Level 1 instructor course given by Ontario coach Mark Rennison. Prince George was the first stop in British Columbia for Rennison as part of a Pickleball Canada / Tennis Canada initiative to launch a national pickleball coach education program accredited by the National Coaching Certification Program.

Fourteen aspiring instructors from Prince George, Williams Lake, Smithers, Terrace and Telkwa participated in Rennison’s one-day Level 1 course at the College of New Caledonia on October 3. Wood, along with Tracey Quickenden and Jim Allen are now nationally- certified to teach pickleball with the Prince George club.

“What they learn to do is to be able to present the sport of pickleball in a safe, fun and effective way where everyone who participates has a good time,” said Rennison.

“Anyone who has coached, in many cases it is volunteers or helpers, and in some cases there may be people who have been paid for their training but there have been no standards. until now. So what we do is try to give them some basic skills so that when they introduce the sport to new people, the people who participate will have a positive experience. ”

The day before, Rennison offered skills clinics for five different skill levels and three one-hour Engage Sports Try It practice sessions at the Northern Sport Center, the first of which drew 32 players, most of whom didn’t. had never played sports. It was a hectic night on the courts and Rennison wasn’t surprised that the Ty It sessions generated a lot of interest. He knows why pickleball is gaining popularity.

“The entry barrier is low, you can get equipment for not a lot of money, the pickleball court is the size of a badminton court, so you don’t need a lot of space and the ball doesn’t bounce a lot so it’s relatively easy to start playing, ”said Rennison.

“A lot of people who haven’t played a lot of sports before find that they can be successful pretty quickly. It’s nice not to have to chase the ball too far down the field and it’s also very social. People make friends in the field and find they have a new community to which they are connected. A lot of people make it their sport full time.

Rennison is based in Collingwood, Ontario where he works as a professional pickleball coach. After serving as a tennis coach for the Tennis Professionals Association for two decades, operating his own business, Third Shot Sports, he switched to teaching pickleball in 2014, the year he started playing tennis. As the national pickleball education officer, he is developing a team of course leaders who can deliver the coaching course anywhere.

Invented in 1965, Canada has approximately 350,000 pickleball players. This year’s national championships drew 789 players between the ages of 10 and 80 in singles, doubles and mixed doubles events and offered open categories, based on skill and age. Kingston, Ont. And Kelowna hosted the national tournament and the Prince George club are considering a bid to host a regional event sanctioned by Racquetball Canada.

The Prince George Tennis and Pickleball Club, where Wood plays, teaches and hosts club tournaments, has nine outdoor pickleball courts adjacent to the Prince George Golf and Curling Club. Any weekend and most weekday evenings in the warmer months, these courts come alive with the hollow sound of perforated plastic balls hitting racquets and the laughter of the people playing. Wood estimates that the town has at least 180 people who make pickleball a regular habit.

It is an ideal activity to improve balance, agility, flexibility, reflexes and eye-hand coordination. so it’s not that hard on the joints. For many older tennis players who have developed hip, knee, or shoulder problems, pickleball is a natural progression, a game they can play for the rest of their lives.

Now that it’s cold outside, pickleball is taking hold in city gyms, but you’ll still see the diehards playing outside on the club’s courts for the next few weeks until the snow clears.


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