BC PICKLEBALL ASSOCIATION
Following 60 days of sunshine in Arizona , I have been generally pleased with the cooler weather in BC with some rain , hopefully making it over the mountains to help the Alberta wildfires.
It is now time to address the increasing number of people who wish to play at least part of the week outdoors and the younger working cohort who need to play evenings and weekends. We also need to approach the students who will soon have summer holidays and are always looking for things to learn and do. Many sports start very early to recruit this group.
I believe our work on infrastructure – approaching and cajoling the Rec centers to carry our sport is almost done. If any Rec center does not see the benefit of another income stream provided by this rapidly growing sport, there is little we can do induce them to give it a fair trial and recruit some of their neighbourhood players into coming and joining us in this fun , physical and competitive game.
Now is the time to address the outdoor facilities available in your area. These facilities are maintained and run largely by parks and Rec depts ( who are generally tuned in to new trends and are looking for ways to increase the utilization of their courts which in many cases are underutilized or not used at all. Last Summer, little White Rock ( population 20,000 gave us four newly painted pickleball courts superimposed on one tennis court . We gave them 500-800 players per month throughout the summer and fall – a feat never seen in this area. The tennis players were impressed and there were no complaints except from the tennis pros who taught on the other four courts in this “ Five court facility “ . This year we have been given more times to play and publicity from the electronic board that advertises Pickleball on the busiest thoroughfare in White Rock and South Surrey. In the fall, South Surrey gave us 12 courts outdoor, adjacent to their Rec center. They are being well used this year. These courts allow us to increase our number of players from 100/day to 200/day including the indoor times. With a total of 22 courts, this is one of the largest facilities in Canada. Vancouver has 79 parks which we pared to four, which will be activated this summer as a pilot project – one for each quadrant of the city. We have 12 Pickleball programs in Vancouver.
Secrets to success :
1- communicate with parks and Rec by petition and proposal as to your wishes .
2 – complete a bucket list for them that will make the courts given more user friendly eg . 1-a practice board 2. portable sets with a lock box – key to which should be held by an adjacent Rec center or a Leader / member .
3- solicit the Rec center to send the overflow to this location ( they usually have a cap of the number of players allowed )
4- Add in a safety kit available from www.bcpieverydatckleball.com
5 – Free paddles and balls for the public to use or beginners being taught ( you can request but not charge 1.00 per play for balls – in a jar or can )
6- A Squeegee to wipe off rain
7- Post on the fence the times dedicated to pickleball with allowance for the public to join in too.
8. Should you wish levels and ladders – then post same on your website.
9. Two tennis courts repainted and four pickleball courts superimposed on one of them cost Parks 13,000 dollars.
10- Tournaments and just welcoming new players will produce great benefits to your city – eg “ Have paddle – will travel “ a recreational proposal for cities to welcome visitors to their area is a good way to start your outdoor program and increase interest. We have had an unprecedented number of new outdoor programs brought forward in the past two years.
Finally, although I am getting up there in age, I remember with affection the first Canadian National Tournament held at Oakridge Rec center in Calgary, held in July 2010 OUTDOORS . It was a wonderful, well run event, that everyone who participated went home with a good feeling about our sport. All players and paddles were welcome. No injuries occurred. Let’s hope this summer brings you the pleasures of playing outdoors , in unity, camaraderie and fitness.
Tip : We will be playing at Centennial park everyday from Monday to Friday weather permitting. I will be there on Monday Thursday and Friday.
Yours in Sport and Health,
Founding Director –www.PickleballCanada.org – Ret
Founding Director – www,BCPIckleball.com – active
ph – 604-536-9602