The Yucaipa Pickleball Club has much to be proud of. In two years it has grown to nearly 200 members and continues to add new players every week. Such phenomenal growth requires plenty of playing venues, and the club has met that need by expanding to three locations with 15 courts that fill up with avid players nearly every day of the week.
All good, right? Well, as Yucaipa pickleball ambassador Diane Smith sees it, there’s always room for improvement.
Most members of the club are retired, ranging in age from 50 to 75, so they typically play weekdays in the morning. But for younger working folks and students, unless they have a flexible work schedule, or are off from school, they have little opportunity to join in the fun.
But the club is planning to be more inclusive for all ages.
“We have not been able to include working adults or students in our program because our play has been restricted to weekday mornings,” said Smith. “But the city of Yucaipa recently painted lines for three pickleball courts at Avenue I Park and we will utilize these new courts on the weekends to introduce our beloved game to a broader spectrum of community members.”
With the help of several club advocates, Smith wants to introduce the sport on Saturday mornings to the younger generations, confident they will enjoy the game that is played with a paddle and ball on a court one-third the size of a tennis court. With an estimated 3.5 million players and growing by more than 10 percent yearly, pickleball is touted as “the fastest growing sport as the fastest growing sport in America.”
This introduction to pickleball will be held at the I Street Park pickleball courts on Saturday mornings from 9 to 10 a.m. beginning Jan. 4. And it’s free with instruction, paddles, balls and nets furnished. But attendance is limited to eight each Saturday and reservations must be made. Working adults and students from high school age through sixth grade are encouraged to join in the fun.
“We hope to help teenagers and working adults discover the joy of playing the fastest growing sport in America,” Smith said.
For more information and to reserve a spot, call Diane Smith at 556-2973.