A group of locals is rallying to bring attention to the sport of pickleball, with the Merritt Pickleball Club even having a permanent home on Merritt Avenue.
Pickleball is a racket sport in which two or four players hit a hollow plastic ball with paddles over a 34-inch-high net, until one side is unable to return the ball or breaks the rules. Often compared to tennis, the sport is lower impact for those with varying levels of abilities.
“Anyone that plays tennis, badminton, or any type of racket sport, you’re going to love pickleball,” said Stephen Holbrook, a director with the Merritt Pickleball Club. “It’s the fastest growing sport in North America right now. It’s not just for seniors, but it is a little easier because you don’t have to do as much running, but you still get a big sweat.”
Players serve diagonally, with a goal of clearing the net and landing the ball within the opposite court. Both teams must let the ball bounce once before volleying, and there is a no-volley zone near the net where players are not allowed to hit the ball. Pickleball games are usually played to 11 points, with a two-point lead needed to win.
Holbrook noted that pickleball makes it much easier to rally, with high-octane games achievable by people with all levels of physical fitness. The smaller court creates a more intimate and fast paced environment for play. The Merritt Pickleball Club invites locals of all ages, including families, to join in on the fun.
“It’s very user friendly, you don’t have to get lessons to go in and learn how to play,” said Holbrook. “If you want to get to an advanced level, some lessons are good, but you can get away with just having a good time with your family.”
The Merritt Pickleball Club’s courts, located at the former Lawn Bowling Club on Merritt Ave., were completed just two years ago. Keys to the courts are available to members, in addition to scheduled weekly play times. Holbrook called the courts the “best in B.C.”
Games are currently held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, with evening games taking place Tuesday and Thursday. Holbrook also looks to start up a Saturday morning game time, pending interest from the community.
While a game of pickleball is usually being played while members are at the courts, the Merritt Pickleball Club also hosts a myriad of other social events.
“We have training days and barbecues, so there’s a lot of social things that we do,” noted Holbrook. “If you are looking for some new friends and a little bit of exercise, this is the club for it. You don’t have to have any competitive bone in your body, everyone is very friendly and we’ll teach you the rules, it’s fairly easy.”
Holbrook added that anyone looking for some laughs, exercise, and to meet lots of good people of all ages should join in on the pickleball action. Those looking to try out the sport can contact Holbrook at 778-709-0363 to set up a discovery game. The courts are located at 2050 Merritt Ave.