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Monday, April 16, 2018

Is Tennis Thawing To Pickleball? (Part 2)

Love will thaw a frozen heart...

As I discussed in Saturday's post, past articles have regularly discussed the antipathy shown by tennis toward pickleball. The tennis industry and players seemed to dismiss pickleball as a fringe sport that could be ignored. To a large extent, this was driven by the view that pickleball would be competitors. The 2 sports would compete for valuable public and private resources - land and investment dollars. They would compete for players - tennis coaches would lose students and clubs would lose members.  

But there has been a thawing of the relationship in recent years. The tennis business has stagnated at best and actually declined in many areas. Tennis facilities and managers are now viewing pickleball as a potential life-saver. The current issue of Tennis Industry Magazine has several articles on the topic. I summarized the first two articles on Saturday and will cover the rest today. A full reading is well worth your time.

The third article in the magazine relates to court construction and is titled Expansion TeamYour court builder has the knowledge and expertise to help with pickleball, too. A lot of the article is specific to only those interested in building or converting courts. A few points are worth noting:
While it’s now becoming more common to see standalone or dedicated pickleball courts, the majority of play still takes place on tennis courts with added lines for pickleball. The USAPA estimates there are about 18,000 indoor and outdoor pickleball courts in the U.S. at nearly 6,000 sites in all 50 states, and that court creation is averaging just over 300 a month.
“In our area, we see a lot of associations and municipalities with tennis courts, but they can’t afford standalone pickleball courts, so we’ll stripe pickleball lines on their courts,” says Certified Tennis Court Builder David Moore, senior vice president of Cape & Island Tennis and Track in Pocasset, Mass...
Since a standard tennis court pad (including overrun areas) is 60 by 120 feet, and the minimum recommended space for a pickleball court is 30 by 60 feet, it’s possible to put four pickleball courts in the space of one tennis court. But if the tennis court has diagonal corners, four pickleball courts might be tight, so two courts are the best fit...
If the tennis court has diagonal corners and you wish to put four pickleball courts in that space, the corners should be squared off. Ideally, if space and budget allow, add additional overall width, to give players more room and to allow room for seating on the courts.

The fourth and final article in the magazine is about instruction opportunities. Some highlights are:
If there’s a downside to the explosive growth of pickleball, it’s that it has encouraged would-be players to hit the courts without good instruction - or any instruction at all...
USA Pickleball Association Executive Director Justin Maloof has witnessed the evolution of the sport and its resulting demand not just for instruction, but also for coaching. “With the number of pickleball locations and courts continuing to explode, interest and curiosity among the general public has never been greater,” Maloof says. “As with anything new, the appetite for improvement and skill development is a natural progression.”...
Graham says the academy has been successful because “both veteran players and new players are starving for instruction.” The academy is even now looking to add more instructors.
Simone Jardim, who heads up the academy’s instruction program and is a former tennis coach, says her instructors share one frustration. “We hear a lot of people say, ‘Oh, I want to wait until I get better before I take a lesson.’ But we tell them they need to take a lesson now before they learn bad habits.”

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