Pickleball grows ‘astronomically’ in Red Deer

A racquet sport has quickly become one of the most up and coming sports in Red Deer

A racquet sport has quickly become one of the most up and coming sports in Red Deer and recently a local club held a get together at the Pine Community Courts to raise awareness about their game.

“The Red Deer Pickleball Club is having an open house to promote the sport and let people know what it is all about,” Club President Val Vollmin said.

The event was intended not only to raise awareness of the game, but also to fundraise for the new courts that are expected to be ready for spring 2018. If you have never seen or heard about Pickleball, Vollmin described the game as a cross between ping pong, tennis and badminton – with the court being about the size of a badminton court.

“I think that is why you see the popularity of it. It is easy to play,” she added.

“It is in our capital plan to have eight brand new courts in this sport and we want to promote that and let council know we are really anxious to get these new courts,” she said, adding that Pickleball is in the midst of a growth spurt both in Red Deer and nationally throughout Canada.

“It has grown astronomically across the country and there is probably 75,000 players across Canada,” Vollmin said. “We started in the end of 2011 with about 20 members. We have 160 as of the end of April in the Red Deer club.”

She added the game, “Is in every little town you go to. It is just incredible.”

While the game has be associated typically with seniors in the past, the games popularity extends to all ages in Red Deer.

“There are a lot of seniors but as it becomes more and more popular, young people are getting into it and that is what we like to see,” Vollmin explained. “That is where we want it to go. Pickleball is a social sport. Everyone out here comes out for a good time.”

Vollmin noted that while most of the members in Red Deer play non-competitively, there are opportunities to play-to-win against elite competition.

Vollmin encourages everyone to come out and try the game, as they play six nights per week at the Pines Community Centre Courts. The club is also looking for volunteers to help with their events.

“We would love to have volunteers. We are going to do some fundraising, because we do have to raise some money for the new courts. We are looking for help,” she said. “We are thrilled to be here. It is a beautiful spot the City has given us. It is great.”

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