The Young, the Restless, and Pickleball
By Lynn Paarmann
Most students of pickleball history know that the game was invented 55 years ago to entertain a group of bored and restless children during the long summer. Ironically, pickleball has had a reputation for being a game for older folks. But today, much of the growth has been the result of younger people discovering the sport.
According to the USA Pickleball Association 2020 Factsheet, there are approximately 3.3 million active pickleball players in the United States. Of the 3+ million, 16.7% are between the ages of 6 and 17 (Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s SFIA 2019 Pickleball Participant Report). Many more have probably been briefly exposed to pickleball in a school or recreational setting. If not, they should be!
The USA Pickleball Association has very recently introduced a new Youth Program Provider Membership. For $40 a year, this membership includes videos, printed materials, deep equipment discounts, access to USA Pickleball grants, and other benefits. According to their website, it is “designed to help teachers, recreation leaders, after school staff, and coaches on how to implement pickleball in any recreation setting including schools, parks, youth centers and racquet/paddle facilities.” Please share this information with any organization you know of that might be interested in introducing pickleball to youth.
Hopefully you know that Pictona has developed its own program for youngsters in the greater Daytona area. Pictona members Lu Kandt and Mary Burns are working on a curriculum that, if possible, will begin in the fall. As a retired educator myself, this is a very exciting endeavor and I am looking forward to hearing more about it. I especially hope to see many young people playing pickleball at Pictona!