Ontario Tennis

Ontario Tennis 2016/2017 | Spring 2016

Tennis, Ontario

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22 SPRING 2016 | TENNISONTARIO.com COURTING SUCCESS K ids tennis (formerly referred to as progressive tennis or mini tennis) has been very successful in getting large numbers of young children engaged in tennis. Tennis promotional efforts have up to this point made this demographic its primary target – referring to the various equipment and court sizes as age appropriate with designated ages, rather than calling them skill appropriate. In the same time frame, a new sport, pickleball, has attained significant growth by targeting and enrolling the over 50 demographic. According to the Pickleball Association of Ontario website, there are nearly 200 sites across the province, mostly in schools, community and recreation centres. It has already been added as an event in the Canada and Ontario 55 plus Games. Recently, the OTA has introduced a program called Freedom 50. This program is focused on encouraging mature adults (aged 50 or more) to get on the court and play tennis. Since the 'new' sport of pickleball has attracted significant numbers of players in this active 50 plus demographic, I thought it would be interesting to look at pickleball and see if there were any useful lessons to be learned from this new sport which could be applied to getting more, older adults to play tennis. WHAT IS PICKLEBALL? Pickleball is a hybrid game having elements that are derived from tennis (the whiffle ball is roughly the size of a tennis ball) and table tennis (the paddles used have short handles but are bigger than a table tennis bat), but mostly from badminton. It was first played in the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Joel Pritchard, then State Representative, and two of his friends, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum had been playing golf and came home to find their families bored. They tried to play badminton, but couldn't find the shuttlecock or racquets, so they lowered the badminton net and improvised with a whiffle ball and paddles made from plywood that they had found in a shed. From this humble beginning, the game was formalized and now is reputed to be the fastest growing sport in North America with hundreds of thousands of players. Pickleball is played on a court with the same dimensions as a badminton court but with a net that is 36" high at each end at 34" high in the middle. The scoring system is roughly the same as that of badminton in that points can only be earned by the serving side. Games are played to eleven points with a margin of 2 points. There are a couple of interesting rules which seem to be important in making the rallies longer and which neutralize the advantages of serving. The "non-volley zone". The area within seven feet of the net on both sides is designated as the non-volley zone. Players may not touch any part of the zone when executing a volley at Ahturner (shutterstock.com} PERSUADING OLDER ADULTS TO GET ON THE COURT PICKLEBALL IS PLAYED ON A COURT THAT IS HALF THE SIZE OF A TENNIS COURT AND IS PLAYED WITH A LIGHTWEIGHT PLASTIC BALL AND A LIGHTWEIGHT PADDLE. BY PAM OLLEY OT OPINION

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