| Jun 12, 2019

Under what was likely the first ideal day of the season, keen Pickleballers from the Frontenac Pickleball Assocation were out in full force for the 9am – 12pm session at Centennial Park in Harrowsmith last Friday morning (June 7)

They took a short break to pose in a photo-op to mark a $1,000 donation that they, and the affiliated Kingston Pickeball Association, has made to South Frontenac Township to help cover the cost of defibrillators for Centennial Park and Gerald Ball Park in Sunbury, the other outdoor Pickleball location in South Frontenac. But they were soon back on the courts.

Even it is a relatively low-key recreational session at the park three mornings a week, the level of competition on each point is pretty high. Pickleball is popular with seniors partly because it requires less running than tennis or badminton, two of the sports that it is loosely based upon. But that does not mean that the players aren’t competitive, or that hand eye-coordination, court positioning, and killer instinct aren’t keys to success.

Kelli McRobert is an Inverary resident who handles promotions for the Kingston Pickleball Association and is a passionate advocate for the sport, and she sees a massive potential for the sport in South Frontenac.

“Pickleball is a sport that anyone can play, and it has become very popular with the young senior population, and with South Frontenac’s growth and its demographics, that’s a lot of people. We tell the township that if they provide us with the facilities to play, we will fill them with players, both from Kingston and South Frontenac,” she said.

She explained as well that Pickleball really has nothing to do with pickles.

“The man who invented the game, Joel Pritchard, had dog named Pickles who would take the ball whenever it came his way, thinking it was ‘Pickles ball’ – hence the name of the game.”

As the game has developed as an organised sport, there are levels of play, which Pickleballers call Ladders, and that allows players to start at a more gentle level and progress in the sport.

Pickleball is also inexpensive. It costs $5 to drop in and only $20 a year to join either the Kingston of Frontenac associations and play all year.

Kingston Pickleball will be hosting the national championships later this month at the Invista Centre, which will raise the profile of Pickleball in the region.

Ashley Bates, the recreation co-ordinator for Southern Frontenac Community Services, has organised Pickleball at the Harrowsmith Free Methodist Church and worked with the township to get the Gerald Ball Park tennis courts marked up for Pickleball as well.

The township is paying attention to the potential to offer more opportunities to local residents to enjoy the sport.

Recreation Co-ordinator Tim Laprade said that the township is looking at improvements to the surface at Gerald ball Park and at fence coverings for both parks to keep high winds from hindering play. As well, the possibility of developing a multi-use court at the Point Park in Sydenham for Pickleball, tennis and basketball is being looked. And then there is the arena.

“They are also interested using the Frontenac Arena for Pickleball in the off-season, and any way we can get more use from the arena would be a good thing,” said Laprade.

For more information about Pickleball, contact Lesley Inglis as 613-449-1757

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