National Pickleball Day hopes to serve up new players

WATCH: Move over tennis, pickleball is coming to a court near you

The tennis courts in Vaudrueil-Dorion were taken over Saturday, by a new, rising racket sport called pickleball.

Members from the local pickleball club hoped to serve up new players as they celebrated National Pickleball Day by playing a friendly tournament.

Robin Grant, president of the Vaudreiul club and member of the Quebec Pickleball Federation, organized the event.

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All across Canada pickleball clubs held events. Members were encouraged to bring someone new to try out the sport.

“If everyone, all 13,000 members of Pickleball Canada, invited a guest, we could double our membership overnight and that’s the objective,” Grant said.

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In Vaudreuil-Dorion, new players were taking a swing at the American sport. Marshall Johnson came all the way for the South Shore to play.

Johnson, an avid squash and tennis player, found the game surprisingly difficult.

“I’m amazed at how much energy I needed,” Johnson said.  “I thought it was going to be a lot easier.”

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The sport is a combination of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.

The game is played with a plastic wiffle ball and a paddle. Pickleball is played on a tennis court using in an area the size of a badminton court.

“Its not like tennis,” said Louise Arsenault, a first time pickleball player.

 “So far so good. It’s not easy but could be fun in the future,” Arsenault said, having played her second game.

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It has gained popularity among the aging baby boomer generation. Grant says it’s because the game, although similar to other racket sports, is not as strenuous on the body.

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Grant hopes that the event will help grow the sport and prompt city officials to paint permanent pickleball courts.

Tape is used to mark of the area within the painted tennis court.

Pickleball was invented in 1960 in Seattle. The sport was named after the inventor’s dog, Grant says. Pickle, a cocker spaniel, would continuously steal the game ball.

You can find a court and a schedule for pickleball games near you on the federation’s website. 


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