Larry Pawloski yells as he stretches out to return a serve during a friendly game of pickleball with his teammate Lawrence Nishihara. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Larry Pawloski yells as he stretches out to return a serve during a friendly game of pickleball with his teammate Lawrence Nishihara. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Pickleball a fun way to stay fit

Pickleball is a sport that really keeps you moving and is good for mobility

Play at the net in pickleball is known as dinking from the sound the ball makes as it hits the paddle.

Larry Davis, secretary-treasurer of the South Cariboo Pickleball Association, laughed as he relayed this fact.

Pickleball may seem like a silly game with names like this but in reality it is a excellent way to stay in shape while having a good time.

Davis, who is semi-retired, started playing seven years ago looking for a way to stay active over the winter after he moved to the 108 Mile Ranch in 2015.

“Winter time is pretty tough finding something to do.” He said, especially if you do not skate or play hockey.

He went to a local pickleball drop-in one night and he was hooked.

“They were a great group, taught me all the rules and how to play and I’ve been playing since then,” Davis said.

They play mostly in doubles as it makes easier to play as people get older. The group ranges in age from 35 to around 80.

“It is a sport that really keeps you active because you need to be able to move in all directions forward, back side to side, sometimes quickly if you want to get to a ball. It is really helpful I think in keeping mobility,” he said.

While there are similarities, pickleball is different than tennis or ping pong.

The kitchen area for instance is a no volley area. A player can only step into the area and hit the ball back if it has bounced once. The purpose behind keeping the players seven feet back from the net is to prevent a tall person standing at the net and driving the ball over the net.

“It just makes it fair for everyone,” said Davis.

In tennis it is a lot of hard volleying back and forth where in pickleball there is play at the net (dinking), going back and forth with little low hits until someone makes a mistake and pops the ball up high enough to hit the ball hard.

In summer, they play at the Rolf Zeis Arena in Lac La Hache, laying out six full-size courts, which fits 25 to 30 people.

In October they switch back to playing at the local schools. Beginners are on Tuesday night at 100 Mile Elementary School, Novices play on Wednesdays at 100 Mile Elementary and Intermediates play at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School on Monday and Thursday nights. The owner of Buffalo Creek Elementary is a pickleball player so they play there on Saturday afternoons.

The membership has grown since Davis joined and the association is always on the lookout for new venues to meet their needs.

One proposal is to build a year round facility. The 108 RCA might have enough land that they could let them use in order to make this a reality, according to organizers.

“We’re hopeful,” said Davis.

He said the pickleball association would like to see it as a multi sport facility. A dry land indoor facility for pickleball, badminton, volleyball and other sports where everyone could help carry the load. The association did their first fundraiser towards this goal during the summer but they are still working out details with the 108 RCA.

He also mentioned the tennis courts in 100 Mile House. They currently need work in order to be usable.

They made a presentation to the Joint Committee in April recommending they be fixed up. The pickleball association received an estimate from a contractor that does this type of specialty work for $50,000 to fix the courts up, creating one tennis court and four pickleball courts. To date, they have not heard anything back from the Cariboo Regional District or the District of 100 Mile House.

Anyone who wants to learn more can visit the South Cariboo Pickleball Association’s Facebook page.



fiona.grisswell@100milefreepress.net

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Emily Twamley bends down to bump a pickleball back across the net at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Emily Twamley bends down to bump a pickleball back across the net at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)