The Red Deer Pickleball Club (RDPBC) continues to prosper and with an average club age of 55 — it is the ideal sport for seniors.
Currently, there are over 200 members in the Club between the ages of 12 and 78, and the Club is looking forward to moving into their new home next year at St. Joseph High School, where 20 courts are being constructed to accommodate the needs of the growing sport.
“The pickleball courts are going to be a big draw for Red Deer and also for tournaments,” Terry Hanasyk, vice president of of the RDPBC, said.
Currently, the Club operates out of the Pines Community Centre outdoor courts — with players playing in multiple divisions according to their skills.
Hanasyk said there are several competitive divisions, but many of the members go for the exercise of the paddle sport, which uses a wiffle ball on a area the size of a badminton court.
“From a senior’s perspective, the motivation is to get people moving and get healthy,” he said.
“From our perspective, keeping people active is part of what keeps people healthy and that can possibly reduce medical costs that would otherwise be needed.”
Hanasyk reinforced the RDPBC is good for people of any age.
“It is even good for kids who are 10 years old and playing,” he said.
“They mix in well with the seniors and adults. Our average age is around 55 years old right now.
“I’m 73 and I still play at a relatively high level. Our oldest player is 78 years old and plays very well still. More young people are getting involved with playing pickleball now.”
Hanasyk said the social aspect of pickleball is a real strength, especially for seniors who may be battling loneliness.
“They may have no place to go or anyone to visit — their spouses may have passed away and they are sedentary at home,” he said. “We found with pickleball, it has given them a way to meet people and socialize.”
Several of their members are also high-end athletes who are looking to continue to compete.
“We are finding a large group of tennis players are moving over to pickleball,” he said.
“They are moving over and like it quite a bit partly because you aren’t covering as much territory as a tennis court.”
He added he hopes people from all over Central Alberta come try pickleball out.
“We train people and we give them paddles to give it a try,” he said.
“We will give them lessons and we find out if they like it and want to pursue it.
“Even if they have never been an athlete in the past, they would be surprised to find people like them and they can be competitive at their own level of play.”
He added the Club is excited to host their tournament from Aug. 10th-12th and they also are in the midst of making a bid for the national tournament once they have moved onto their new courts.
“We are really excited about the new courts and there is a lot of buzz around the pickleball community,” he said.
More information can be found at reddeerpickleballclub.com