Grade 5 students at Crestwood School had the chance to learn how to play pickleball thanks to sponsorship by the Medicine Hat Pickleball Club, whose members also volunteered their time to coach the kids.–NEWS PHOTO SAMANTHA JOHNSON

Members of the Medicine Hat Pickleball Club were volunteering at Crestwood School in November and December to teach students how to play the game. Grade 5 and 6 students at the school had four sessions each with the courts split in half so all students from a single class could play at the same time.

Sara Thome, physical education teacher at Crestwood School, stated, “We are trying to promote active living and healthy lifestyles and providing different opportunities to students so they can learn various sports and do things they maybe haven’t done before. Pickleball is something that is becoming more and more popular, we see lots of courts in our community. It’s an easier game and something they can catch onto and have really enjoyed.”

Valerie Cox of the local pickleball club explained there are three arms to the junior program. One is outdoors in the spring and summer for ages 8-17, a second is the junior league at the Big Go Marble Centre from October to April and the last is the school program.

Working with the younger generation to ensure there are future players of pickleball is important to Jim Hancock, an instructor in the school junior program, which began about eight years ago.

“Pickleball was thought of as a senior game that old people play. We need to bring a continuous influx of young kids into the program as the game can be played by this age all the way up,” said Hancock. “I think this is a great way to introduce kids to this game, we are playing half court, normally it’s a badminton court, but we turned it into half play to have six courts. We bring the nets, balls, paddles and come ready to set this up.”

Grade 6 student Amar didn’t want to spend long talking to the News as he was reluctant to miss any pickleball action.

“The energetic-ness of it and the teamwork that is in it. If you get a partner and you get a point, it’s fun and then you celebrate,” explained Amar about what he likes about playing the game. “When you lose, you lose, you don’t have to pout about it.”

Classmate Alea added, “It’s very interactive, especially when you get a point it’s fun, but when you don’t it’s not sad, I can always get it the next time. When you don’t get a point, you know what you did wrong and can try a new stance or something,”

Alea enjoys playing with different teams but also when they get to pick their own so she can play with her friends.

Crestwood School has begun an after-school sports program to further promote active, healthy lifestyles.

“We run different sports for them to participate in that they might not get to do otherwise to help build community and connection along with spending positive time with their friends and peers,” said Thome.

At the beginning of the year there was a run club and now a basketball club is in progress. Thome says volleyball is next up and she hopes to fit in baseball and badminton before the end of the school year to try to include various sports to hit the interests of different types of students.

By: Samantha Johnson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Dec 11, 2023 at 16:18

This item reprinted with permission from   Medicine Hat News   Medicine Hat, Alberta

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