Serving up skills: Pickleball camp encourages area children to pick up the game

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 30, 2024

SALISBURY — Most people probably think pickleball is a sport for the older crowd, but a camp hosted by Salisbury and the local YMCA showed the younger generation the ropes. 

The camp took place earlier this month at the Hurley YMCA facilities in Salisbury. 

Frequent pickleball player and Salisbury City Council member David Post said the camp had 24 kids sign up initially and that that number grew to 29 before the camp was over. 

Post said that they had a dozen local pickleball players offer assistance. With such a large pool of volunteers and a burgeoning interest in the camp, Post indicated that they hope to expand the number of campers to as many as 40 for next year.

Throughout the week, the campers honed their pickleball skills in various exercises and drills, leading up to a big, grand finale.

“The last day, Friday, was fun,” Post said. “The best pay you can get is some kid saying it was fun. The kids really did not want to leave. On Friday, we had a little one-point tournament where everybody was playing at the same time.”

On Friday, the campers also received medals and were treated to Kona Ice. 

Scott Ludwick, a recreation specialist with Salisbury, commended the volunteers that made the camp possible and helped pass along a skill to the young campers.

“There were a lot of volunteers,” Ludwick said. “I don’t think people realize that these are people who come out to volunteer to work with us and it’s like people who play every day.

“They play everyday so taking the time to come out to teach these kids what they know really meant a lot.”

Ludwick mentioned that, per usual, the Hurley YMCA proved to be a great partner with the city.

“We have great rapport with Richard (Reinholz, YMCA executive director),” Ludwick said. “We talked about it. He was in favor of having the camp. It’s a great facility. We had great weather so we did not have to go inside. It was a great partnership.”

Ludwick acknowledged that as pickleball has exploded in popularity, it was typically considered a sport for seniors. However, that trend appears to be changing, as evidenced by the camp’s success. 

“Pickleball is now all ages,” Ludwick said. “That was the concept behind the camp.”

As a sport, it also provides valuable athletic and exercise opportunities for people of all ages.

“There is a lot of movement in pickleball,” Ludwick said. “There is also a lot of skill. It’s also on the mental side, you have to understand the game and remember the rules.”

If you haven’t tried pickleball yet, find a court near you and get in the game.