Paddle group

Ten Big Canoe pickleball players participated in the Scott Moore Pickleball Clinic at Rock Creek Park on Wednesday, April 24.  The Big Canoe players taking the clinic were (left to right) front row Susan Moore, Scott Moore; middle row Pam Glustrom, Celia Otwell, Tom Pike, Cindy Pike, John Balducci; back row, Jim Armstrong, Dennis Shearer, Martin Calloway, Dick Haczynski and Carla Baird.

World champion leads pickleball clinic at Rock Creek Park

By Barbara Schneider This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Photos by Jim Francis

Big Canoe has joined the thousands—maybe millions—of new pickleball enthusiasts around the world. The sport of pickleball has had a 650 percent increase in numbers over the last six years, according to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA).

What exactly is this new sport with the funny name? Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a wiffle ball, over a net, according to Wikipedia.

Scott Moore, one of the shining stars of pickleball had traveled to Dawson County’s Rock Creek Park to host a pickleball clinic that included 10 Big Canoe players. Moore, unquestionably the number one senior male professional pickleball player in the world, has captured the triple crown of pickleball six times, won mixed doubles, men’s doubles, and singles competition, the US Nationals twice, the Tournament of Champions three times, and the US Open once.

At the Rock Creek Clinic, he focused on teaching 10 rules or techniques to help players win more games. In an interview with Smoke Signals, he explained, “The basics include knowing where to stand and move on the court, when and how to hit defensive versus winning shots—and how to avoid making mistakes during play.” But, his first and most important rule is have fun. “Strategy is key to winning. Playing pickleball is very mental. It’s the best all round sport ever invented.” With a grin, he added, “But it’s addictive—you have to be careful.

Moore has turned his love of pickleball into a thriving business. He competes, teaches and also has a business called pickleballtrips.com for players who want to combine their love of pickleball and international travel.

Pickleball’s origins, according to the USAPA website, are traced back to Bainbridge Island, Washington in the 1960s, two golfers and a cocker spaniel named—you guessed it! — Pickles. After a golf game, Joel Pritchard, then a congressman representing Washington, and Bill Bell went back to Pritchard’s Bainbridge Island home and discovered their families were bored and claimed they had nothing to do. The two men improvised, using old sports equipment—ping pong paddles, a wiffle ball and an old badminton court—then challenged their families to try something new. As they started batting the ball around, Pickles decided this crazy game looked like fun. He grabbed the wiffle ball and ran. One of the players retrieved the ball from Pickles; the game would begin again and the mighty cocker spaniel would again claim his wiffle ball treasure until another player retrieved it. The process continued and the wiffle became known as Pickle’s ball. To read the full version go to: www.usapa.org.

Paddle lesson

Scott Moore (in white cap) leads the April 24 clinic at Rock Creek Park.

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