Category Archives: North Carolina Pickleball

Tennis/Pickleball – Comparing Applies and Oranges

North Carolina Pickleball

Special Coastal Breeze News – Naples Florida

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The sports of tennis and pickleball are somewhat unique in comparison to most other sports and while there are distinct differences in each of the two games, they share a lot in common.

Let’s consider a few of the similarities and differences between the games of tennis and pickleball.

Both sports take place on the same dimensionally shaped court, but the courts are different in size.

Both courts have baselines, sidelines and service lines, but the location of the service boxes are reversed.

Tennis has an overhead service motion and pickleball has an underhanded service motion.

Tennis has two serves and pickleball only has one.

Both sports have their own unusual/unique, but different scoring formats.

So we are in agreement, that even though there are some differences, such as the size of the court, the scoring format and the execution of the strokes, the two sports actually have a lot in common.

Both can be played as singles or doubles.

There is a net dividing the two sides of the court.

We are required to make contact with a ball using a racquet or a paddle and even though the rules vary, we are allowed to strike the ball either on the bounce or in the air.

And with all of the strategies that we can learn to apply in both of these games, (as I tell my kids in my juniors programs), keep it simple, just be the last one to hit the ball over the net and inside the lines and you will win!

So why has pickleball become such a popular and trendy sport over tennis?

As a self-proclaimed lifelong player of both sports, (for what it’s worth), here are some of my beliefs as to why pickleball is such a popular game.

First and foremost, a large part of the popularity of the sport of pickleball has to do with the social aspect of the way the game is played.

Unless you are playing in some sort of organized event, tennis basically consists of four players on a single court, competing together for a couple of hours.

However, in pickleball you are rotating courts,  as well as partners and opponents, on a continual basis and even if you are waiting for a court to open up you are socializing with your fellow players on the sidelines. This whole process creates somewhat of a meet and greet atmosphere for the players.

Secondly, the learning curve of conquering the fundamentals required to compete in the sport of pickleball (for rookie athlete players) is much easier to achieve than in the sport of tennis.

In addition to that, many lifelong, high-level tennis players have expressed to me that they are taking up pickleball because of the mobility they have on the smaller court. This mobility now permits/allows someone who has been a 4.0 to a 4.5 level tennis player to be able to compete on the same aggressive level of play which they/we/I could in our younger years.

This is a fact that I personally and wholly agree with!

As we age, the size of the tennis court, along with the speed of the ball, and the length and weight of swinging the racquet, simply becomes too much in regards to space and time.

The slower bouncing ball and the lighter weight paddle, along with the smaller court space in pickleball, creates an environment which simply does not require the radical/extreme physical punishment on our bodies we experience when playing high-level competitive tennis. This results in less impact on the joints and muscles, which leads to less physical recovery time between playing, and allows players to go out and compete on a daily basis in pickleball.

It is my personal opinion that unfortunately, it’s probably already “too little too late,” but the USTA needs to officially endorse some type of senior tennis ball, just as they have done with 10-and-under youth tennis to slow the game down for senior players and somehow try to retain aging tennis players from wholly converting to the sport of pickleball.

At any rate, the sport of pickleball continues to grow in popularity for all types of athletes in all generations. It’s a great way to get your competitive mojo going, get in a good workout and make some new friends!

Wayne Clark is a professional tennis instructor with over 25 years experience coaching players on all levels of the game. Wayne is also qualified in pickleball  instruction and is on staff as an instructor with The Pickleball Academy of Southwest Florida at East Naples Community Park. Contact Coach Wayne by email at, or by phone or text at 239-450-6161

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National Senior Games Promoting Health, Fitness and Fun

North Carolina Pickleball

2019 Senior Games – A Fitness Promoter

This year, 13,712 amateur athletes age 50 and older from the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico will compete in 20 sports ranging from track and field to badminton, pickleball, table tennis and horseshoes. The number of participants is up 30 percent from two years ago, when the biennial event — the world’s largest Olympic-style multi-sport competition for people 50 and up — took place in Birmingham, Ala.

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Stanley Moulton, 85, will be representing New Hampshire this week in the 16th National Senior Games in Albuquerque, N.M. A lifelong runner, Moulton has qualified to compete in two road races, three track events and two power walks.

A main reason for the surge of interest is not what you’d expect, said Del Moon, media and communications director for the National Senior Games: More than to other venues, athletes around the country are eager to head to Albuquerque, a vacation-like destination that has gone all out to attract pickleball visitors.


Another big draw is pickleball — a sport spawned in 1965 from tennis, badminton and ping pong — which pulls participants of all ages, including from senior centers. “More people make new friends just by coming to play pickleball,” said Jim Edinger, a coach and former New Hampshire Senior Games director, who has watched its popularity grow.

‘If you rest, you rust’

Athletic competition for middle-aged and older adults has gained steam since the late 1960s. That’s when “Aerobics,” a book by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, an Air Force physician, introduced adults interested in health and longevity to a range of heart-pumping options, and the lasting benefits of exercise — including preserving brain function.

“Before then, in the 1950s and early 1960s, when you were out running, they probably thought you escaped some mental institution,” Moulton said. “Older people didn’t run very often.”

A sport for everyone’: City of Aiken expands pickleball offerings

North Carolina Pickleball

Special South Carolina Edition

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When Michael and Loretta Beckner moved to Aiken from Virginia in 2010, they were surprised that no one in the community had ever played, or even heard of, pickleball.

“When we learned that not only was there no pickleball in Aiken, but that no one had ever heard of it, Loretta announced that we obviously could not stay here and would have to move,” Michael said. “I agreed but suggested that before we packed up again, we approach the (City of Aiken) Parks, Recreation and Tourism (Department) to ask if they would consider starting a program.”

The department set up a public demonstration for the Beckners at the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center. Over 90 people showed up to watch them practice pickleball. The Aiken Pickledillys were formed not long after, and they play competitively with other pickleball teams from throughout the CSRA.

The Beckners first became “hooked” on pickleball when Loretta, a tennis player, had to undergo shoulder surgery. The Beckners found pickleball to be a competitive sport that was easy on the body.

“Pickleball is a sport for everyone,” Michael said. “It has proven to be of tremendous value to those people who were either not very strong in other sports or who thought they were no longer competitive, to be introduced to pickleball. The number of people who have credited pickleball with getting them off their couches and out having fun again is almost overwhelming.”

Pickleball clinics have increased in number over the past 10 years. The sport is especially popular with seniors, although it can be played competitively by all age groups.

The sport was first invented in 1965 by the Pritchard, Bell and McCallum families on Bainbridge Island in Washington, according to the U.S. Pickleball Association. One theory about the sport’s name is that it came from the McCallum’s dog, Pickles, who would always try to run away with the ball.

In 2013, with the City of Aiken’s support, the Pickledillys held their first tournament in Aiken. Around 180 players from 10 states participated.

Pickleball has grown exponentially in Aiken since then. There are now around 250 regular players in Aiken and eight pickleball courts at Virginia Acres Park and Eustis Park. Pickleball lines have also been drawn on local tennis courts, and regular games are held on indoor courts at Odell Weeks. Annual tournaments are still held at Odell Weeks every September.

The City of Aiken is launching two new pickleball offerings this summer. A youth pickleball program will be held for ages 10-16 starting June 18. This program will run Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon at Eustis Park, 1001 Edgefield Ave. N.W. The cost is $5 for city residents and $8 for non-city residents. This program is ideal for beginner-level players.

A pickleball dance workout program for ages 18 and older will also be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Eustis Park. The cost is $10 for city residents and $12 for non-city residents.

These will be the first pickleball classes held at Eustis Park.

For more information about the city’s pickleball programs, call 803-643-2181. For more information about the Aiken Pickledillys, visit

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Pickleball Expands In Ohio


North Carolina Pickleball

Around The Country- Sandusky Ohio

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HURON TWP. — Much like the sport of pickleball itself, the Firelands Area Pickleball Association (FAPA) continues to expand.

The local club that started in 2014 with 12 members playing at Fabens Park has grown exponentially over the past five years.

Now there are more than 100 FAPA members who play outdoors at Osborn MetroPark and indoors at Baywinds Athletic Club.

In 2015, the Erie MetroParks converted one of two tennis courts into four regulation-size pickleball courts and they’re currently in the process of building four additional courts, which will debut this summer.

“This just steamrolled, having our own courts, and a place we call home,” FAPA president Mike Wohl said. “We have a great relationship with Osborn, which allowed us to not only have (the original pickleball) courts, but to paint these (lines on the remaining tennis court), and we’ve expanded and then they’re providing us these four new courts.”

Wohl added that park director Amy Bowman-Moore has done a lot to help the association.

“She’s been fantastic to work with,” he said. “She’s really good at working on the facilities and so forth. She’s done a lot for us.”

In the winter months, Wohl said they’ve played at a few different places, including the former YMCA and Huron St. Peter’s gym before striking a deal with Baywinds owner Carl Heuckroth.

“We were able to paint six courts on the tennis courts over at Baywinds,” Wohl said. “It worked out very well. We bought some nets, we painted the lines on their tennis courts, which (Heuckroth) allowed us to do, and we had a great winter there.

“That’s how we’ve grown,” he added. “Being able to play year-round is very important. We have snowbirds, I was a snowbird, but we have a great group that stays around here in the winter and continued playing, and we will work on expanding that this winter.”

Just like they had hoped when the original courts debuted in 2015, FAPA will host a regional tournament, the Vacationland Pickleball Tournament, Aug. 17-18 after construction on the new courts has concluded.

The tournament has entries from 108 pickleball players from all over the country. It could grow to 120-130 players before registration closes.

Former president and current club ambassador Bob Eirons said the organization’s growth has allowed the new courts to be built, and the new courts then allow the club to host the tournament.

“When we started at Fabens, we had to tape the lines there and they had us pull the lines every time,” he said. “So, we looked around and I saw these tennis courts were not being used at all. So that’s what started us with the MetroParks. We started talking to them and a year later they helped us out and put these four courts in. I told them at that time, that we would grow.

“Last year we asked them for more courts and they said we hadn’t grown enough and they were right. Then this year we went back and they saw the growth, so now that allows us to have our tournament here. If we didn’t have those courts, we wouldn’t be able to have the tournament, so we’re very appreciative of the MetroParks.”

Pickleball’s growth nationwide was up 12 percent from 2017, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) 2018 Pickleball Participation Report. It was reported that the sport has 3.1 million players in the United States.

Eirons attributes the growth of the sports to its inclusivity and ability to be played by men and women of all ages.

“Pickleball is known to be a very friendly sport,” he said. “You’re never a stranger here. We really are an inclusive, not exclusive community — and that’s anywhere you go. You can go on the USAPA website and look for places to play, and go there and it’ll be the same way. You walk in, you’re welcomed.”

Added Wohl, “We’re as much a social organization as we are an organization for pickleball.”

FAPA members have enjoyed success in recent tournaments, with Eirons winning a national championship in his age group at the USAPA U.S. Open in Naples, Florida.

“That’s quite an honor, to be a winner at any level, and at his level he played fantastic,” Wohl said of Eirons. “We had eyewitnesses, some other club members who were down there playing — we were getting game-by-game updates.”

Husband and wife duo Yugi and Sakae Tanaka recently won the Avon Oaks Spring Shootout at the 3.5 level.

The association plays from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday at Osborn MetroPark (weather permitting), and is always looking to add new members. They provide free lessons for those interested in learning the sport, and have members from Erie, Huron, Ottawa and Lorain counties, and beyond.

“We’ll supply paddles, balls, everything for three weeks, and then they can make their decision on if they want to continue,” Eirons said. “But they can come to the parties for as long as they want.”

Those who choose to continue with the club pay a $30 membership fee, which includes, among other things, group insurance, balls, social activities and a discount at Baywinds.

——-Story,  by Sarah Baker

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