Area schools get taste of pickleball

The third grade gym class at Speas Elementary looks on as volunteers from the Gateway YWCA demonstrate proper play of the game of pickleball.

Area schools get taste of pickleball
February 09
04:00 2017

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



According to sources, pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country right now.  Originating in the Seattle, Washington, area, the game was quickly adopted by older individuals but has begun to be played by more younger adults every day.

To get the younger generation introduced to the game, the students at Speas Global Elementary School will be exposed to the game during gym class. Jack Smith, academically gifted teacher at Speas, is an avid pickleball player and wanted to introduce the game to the students. Smith then introduced physical education (PE) teacher Ryan Lindquist to the game and they decided to bring the game to Speas. Lindquist brother, Brett Lindquist, also donated $100 to Speas for the pickleball equipment.

“I’m a player and I’m addicted to the game,” Smith said.  “Originally a lot of seniors played it but now it’s coming down to the young people.  I thought it would be perfect to bring here and our principal and PE teacher went right along with it and here we are.”

Lindquist said he has played the game with Smith for the past few months and has really enjoyed learning the game. He says he felt the kids would also enjoy the game.

“The kids love it and they like it better than tennis,” Lindquist said.  “They really like it especially since the court is smaller and they are able to get more contact on the ball versus tennis.  For me I’m a former tennis player and so far I love playing it also.”

To help give the kids better learn the game, Speas brought in pickleball players from the Gateway YWCA.  Michelle Todd Davis, Greg Dunn and Albert Noda all came out to help the kids learn the game.

Todd Davis said it was important to come help the kids because the game of pickleball and children are very close to her heart.

“The need to teach the discipline of partnering in sports is a good life discipline as well,” Todd Davis said.  “I’m like a big kid so working with them is like working with me.  I think pickleball is one of those sports that should be introduced to the school system. Pickleball is like dancing the salsa; sometimes you lead and sometimes you follow.”

The children seemed to really enjoy playing the game and were eager to learn the tricks of the trade.

“It’s fun to play because its a competitive game,” said Jaylen Perry, a third grader at Speas.

Jasyah Holiday, another third-grader, added “I like it because its basically like I’m learning the same sport because tennis and pickleball are kind of the same.  I feel like this is giving me a chance to challenge myself more.  I will probably still play after my gym class is over.

Speas Elementary Principal Robert Ash says the game enables the kids learn to work with others and learn the history of the game, as it has become a global sport which fits into the philosophy of the school.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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