Watching the various players at Nationals this last year, it is easy to recognize what type of background a player comes from: tennis, racquetball, table tennis or even basketball. Talking with some players, though, it seems to be a common factor that tennis players transition to pickleball quite directly. It is no surprise, therefore, that a tennis club would be a prime location for the introduction of pickleball. Here are a few stories of how pickleball has transformed tennis clubs into something more.
The Lakes Country Club in Palm Desert, California
About three years ago, Marcin Rozpedski, former professional tennis player and currently the tennis director at The Lakes Country Club, was approached by a member with an idea of putting one pickleball court on the back tennis court of the tennis center –“just to try it.” Soon after, the demand for the sport forced Marcin to start taping two more courts, and he knew that he would have to get some permanent lines down soon. The demand from the members caught his interest.
When Marcin first heard about pickleball, it was a struggle to come to terms with the sport. How could he convince himself, as a tennis director and former tennis professional, that this game of pickleball would catch on and be successful at his club? Well, he decided to give it a try. And he loved it. But how could he convince the general manager to endorse pickleball? Naturally, the numbers spoke for themselves.
Since starting the program, the club now has nine individual permanent pickleball courts. The club sacrificed three tennis courts for those pickleball courts, but now has over 150 pickleball club members. Marcin coordinates an easy-to-follow program, with given start times. Equipment is provided by the club to new members for the first year, and the club has equipment for sale through its pro shop. Now the club is called a “racquet center” instead of “tennis center" and, according to Marcin, it is the best thing that ever happened to the facility. He is glad that The Lakes Country Club was progressive enough to introduce and embrace the game of pickleball three years ago.
Yakima Tennis Club in Yakima, Washington
In a small city located just south of the center of Washington, Tyson McGuffin, a two-time National medalist, is the Teaching Pro at the Yakima Tennis Club. With the club being run by a board, Tyson and his pickleball friends had to convince the group that pickleball was a good idea. It was slow going, but eventually the board consented and right now