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Pickleball debuts on the Eastern Shore

ONE of the fastest growing sports in the state has made its way to the Eastern Shore, with there already being a strong interest from the local community.

Pickleball is a sport that is played with solid paddles and involves hitting a wiffle ball over a net.

Having been established at the Glenorchy YMCA, Moonah Sports Centre and Kingborough Sports Centre, two come and try days were held at the Clarence Sports Centre with there being plans to hold weekly social sessions.

Pickleball Tasmania president Robbie Cooper said it was a great sport for everyone and had a lot of benefits.

“It’s really easy to play, so if you haven’t played any racquet sports before you can normally pick this up in five to 10 minutes,” he said.

“It’s got a lot of benefits for health, but it’s also very social and you make a lot of friends.

“We have people playing who have disabilities, so it’s certainly a sport for everyone and for all ages.”

Mr Cooper said the response to the sessions on the Eastern Shore was amazing, with the courts being full of enthusiastic pickleballers.

“As it grows, we’ll start to offer competition and hopefully eventually have a state tournament, so there’ll be a pathway there for people all the way through,” he said.

Pickleball originated in America in the mid-1960s as a children’s backyard game and has become one of the fastest growing sports in the world.

The sport was introduced to Hobart by Jenny and Mark Kitchener who discovered the sport while talking to some Canadians on a cruise.

“I introduced the sport to the Glenorchy YMCA a couple of years ago where we started on the squash courts with six people – it just grew from there,” Mrs Kitchener said.

“Melissa Carlton has really helped push the sport.

“I would love to see people come and play, and be active and social.”

Kathy Ragless heard of pickleball from a group of friends and was surprised at how many people played the sport.

“All my friends talked about it being so much fun, so I thought it may be a good sport to follow once I’m no longer able to play tennis,” Ms Ragless said.

“My tennis skills have been really useful as it involves a bit of coordination and balance.”

For more information, phone Mark and Jenny Kitchener on 0414 486 896.