CIRCLEVILLE – In an effort to develop their sport locally, the Pickaway County Pickleball Association offered it to students in schools in the town of Circleville during their gym class.
Pickleball is a paddleball sport that combines elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis. Two or four players use sturdy paddles made of wood or composite materials to strike a perforated polymer ball, much like a Wiffle ball, with 26 to 40 round holes, over a net.
The Pickaway County Pickleball Association visited middle and high schools while working with physical education teachers and more than 100 students to teach the game.
âWe knew that every physical education teacher had received a grant from the Circleville City School Foundation to purchase pickleball nets and equipment, and we wanted to introduce the kids to the sport as soon as we could,â Julie Strawser, member of the Pickaway County Pickleball Association. , noted.
âSchool equipment is out of stock, so we brought our own nets, paddles and balls to the school to help speed up the learning process. Our group also offers introductory sessions to the YMCA, and we want to build enthusiasm for the sport wherever we can.
Strawser said the reaction to the sport was well received by the students.
âThe instructors and students were happy to have Assistant Superintendent Kirk Henderson, High School Principal Chris Thornsley and Grades 6-12 Media Specialist Trent Roberts to play a few games,â Strawser said. .
Roberts, an avid pickleball player in the Columbus area, secured a donation to Circleville City schools of two nets, 12 paddles and pickleballs from Dave Ganim, a Dublin resident and member of the Ohio Pickleball Association.
âI was amazed at how well the students received pickleball,â said Roberts. “I had a lot of students who asked us if we could continue playing next week.”
EP teacher Crystal Thornsley echoed the sentiment, saying her eighth-graders had asked to continue playing after introductory week with PCPA members.
âWhat a great opportunity for children to learn a new sport,â said Thornsley. âI was 100% satisfied with their fun, effort and attitude. The kids found it really cool playing with the PCPA members. They were impressed with the quality of the adults.
Over the four-day period, students moved from learning basic skills and the rules of the game to playing.
Jacob Johnson, a second year CHS student, has been playing the sport for a few months with CAPP members.
âPickleball is an easy game to learn, regardless of your age,â Johnson said. âMost of my classmates would love to play again. “
The PCPA members who served as instructors were Julie and Tom Strawser, Peggie Shaw, Steve Riffle, Dean Huston, Frank Bonelli and Janice McMunn. In addition to their work with schools in Circleville City, members of the PCPA hosted a clinic at the Williamsport Community Center on November 3. For more information on PCPA, see the website, www.pickawaycountypickleball.org.
Free introductory pickleball sessions provided by PCPA members are offered at the Pickaway County Family YMCA on the second and fourth Sunday of each month from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. For more course information, contact the Pickaway County Family YMCA at (740) 477-1661.
Commentary provided by the Pickaway County Pickleball Association.