Letter: More Information about Pickleball

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(Editor’s note: Circling the News received this letter regarding pickleball, which is described as an easy-to-learn racquet sport, a blend of tennis and ping pong, played on a badminton size court (20’ x 44’) with lightweight paddles and balls making it especially appropriate for children and seniors.)

I would like to share with you the findings of a survey of West LA pickleball players which I collected and analyzed July-September 2021. It includes a good number of Palisades players who I met at Rustic canyon. I have subsequently gotten to know some because they have started playing at Memorial Park Santa Monica.

A copy of the survey can be accessed, downloaded or read online at the following Website (visit:www.west-losangeles-pickleball.info). It would be wonderful if you could add the website to your newsletter. This would make it available to the respondents from the Palisades  who took part in the survey. The survey was anonymous.

I would also like to make it available to the park advisory committee. There is a short two-page summary, which is quickly read. The full report is 36 pages and has a lot of detail and evidence.

To get pickleball into L.A. city parks does not involve a special budget.  All it needs is a change of a rule that forbids anything other than tennis racquets and balls on tennis courts.  All over California (and through the USA) recreational planners have been converting tennis courts either to permanent pickleball or to multipart courts which allow PB players to reserve them for, say three hours, set up portable nets and  welcome all players for open play.  Everyone takes turn on the court.

One tennis court makes four pickleball courts and sessions are run by volunteers who generally supply the nets and any other equipment.  The average age of players is 60 years old.

I carried out the survey part of a campaign to get the rule changed. It must be allied to a court reservations system because setting up the nets and organizing a session is only worthwhile with a minimum three-hour period.

Warm regards,

 

Nicky Hart

Resident of Venice

Professor Emeritus,

Dept. Of Sociology

UCLA

 

 

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5 Responses to Letter: More Information about Pickleball

  1. Sara Trepanier, MD says:

    The reason it is important to preserve tennis courts for tennis only is because there are a shortage of tennis courts already in West side and LA and even nationally. During COVID , USTA stated up to 30% more tennis players were added nationally. Tennis courts are expensive to build since they require special materials and supplies. Just like supply chain, we are very behind in building tennis courts to keep up with the demand.

    Pickleball courts can be made inexpensively with raised wooden structures as in Chapel Hill, NC or may be made on cement areas. I agree with building pickleball courts in public parks since it is a fun game. But please don’t take tennis courts away.

    Please help us preserve our tennis courts. Southern California is known across the USA for their amazing tennis players and ability to develop junior players here. Please keep the tennis courts for tennis only.

  2. Susan Lynch says:

    Allowing 16 people to play on a court that previously permitted only 2 – 4 persons is a fantastic idea! Several of the tennis courts remain empty, especially during the week days. Offering dedicated courts for pickleball will encourage our neighbors to be more physically active and more socially involved. It sounds like a win-win for the Palisades.

  3. Sue says:

    It would be great if RAP and PAB allocated the lower picnic area strictly for pickleball. That area is rarely used and the site of underaged drug use – and the picnic tables are routinely graffitied.

  4. Pacific Palisades is quite late getting into Pickleball availability – it has been the fastest growing sport in the country for several years and I think it is wonderful: this sport is fun and can be challenging for people of all ages. I am so glad there is a movement to convert one or more tennis courts.

  5. Nicky Hart says:

    Responding to Barbara Trepanner
    The relationship between tennis and pickleball is not a zero sum game. 60% of pickleball players in West LA are current or former tennis players. Many former players take up the sport in order to continue using the skills they developed as tennis players on a smaller court with lighter equipment and less risk of injury.
    Striping a tennis court for pickleball creates a multisport court for either tennis or pickleball and tennis courts are frequently underused during weekday mornings, which is exacly the same time of day when pickleball regulars ( average 60 years) prefer to play.
    Striping 1 or 2 tennis courts in every LA city park is a ‘win, win’ policy which would significangtly improve the attractiveness of the local park as a place of recreation for seniors and increasing their opportunities to regularly engage in moderately vigorous physical exercise. The safest surface for pickleball is not cement, the game should be played on a good quality regularly re-surfaced court.

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