MEDICINE HAT, AB —What do you get when you mix badminton, tennis and ping pong?
You'll be playing Pickleball, one of Canada's fastest growing sports.
Medicine Hat residents were working up a sweat at the Family Leisure Centre as they learned a new sport.
Guy Riddell was coaching newcomers and says there are some misconceptions over what age you need to be to participate.
“It got tagged as like a seniors game which is unfortunate, but we’re getting more and more young people out playing now,” said Riddell. They’re finding out it’s not just a seniors game.”
Pickleball is played on the same size court as badminton but with a net lowered like tennis.
The first team to score 11 points wins.
Riddell says there are some skills that transfer over from other racquet sports, but if you are looking to try something new, Pickleball is a great place to start.
“We’ve had ladies that come out that never played a sport before in their life and started playing,” said Riddell. Now they stayed with it, and they’re really good Pickleball players, and they love it. So you don’t have to have any previous racquet skills to play this game.”
Medicine Hat's Pickleball Club has grown to over 220 members.
Riddell hopes with participation on the rise, the city will have its' own dedicated courts.
For Warren Sehn, this was his first time picking up a paddle, and he had a great time on the court.
“I think because it’s a slower paced game and it’s still more of a friendly game than anything else I've played so far.”
Sehn was surprised at how much he learned from the instructors.
“They were friendly, very informative, and yeah taught us more than I expected they would,” said Sehn.
Guy was teaching on the court with his son Trevor.
Riddell says he's always learning from his son and although Pickleball is all about fun, things can still get competitive on the court.
“I just happened to beat him on a shot, so now he said games on,” said Riddell. “Now I know I'm going to pay. I always end up paying, I may get a shot off him but I end up paying the price.”
Both Guy and Trevor compete in tournaments across the country, and they hope that these classes will help grow the sport they love.
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