Kids and pickleball: how to introduce a new generation to the game
Whether your child is eager to play pickleball or you want to introduce them to the game, the important thing is to make it fun. For younger children or those new to the sport, it's a good idea to play on a paved surface without a net. This reduces pressure and gives kids the freedom to let their imaginations run wild.
Start with a game of back-and-forth hitting to improve their hand-eye coordination and show them how to hit the ball in the sweet spot of the paddle. When they feel more confident, increase the distance between players to simulate a serve and encourage them to hit the ball harder. Accuracy is not critical at this stage, as the goal is to develop their skills and abilities.
Once children's interest in pickleball is piqued, the next step is to familiarize them with the rules and scoring of the game. It is best to start with simple and stable rules, such as the two-bounce rule and the kitchen rule, and provide examples through videos or real-life demonstrations so as not to overwhelm them.
Although scoring in pickleball is not overly complex, children may need some practice to understand the order of serves and how different plays lead to points. Watching games played by professionals and explaining scoring as they progress, and allowing them to score occasional games with friends, can help them learn and feel included.
Once children have basic coordination skills and an understanding of the game, it's time to find ways for them to play real games. The ideal is to create a controlled and fun environment with family or close friends that focuses on fun rather than strict adherence to rules. As their skills improve, it can be beneficial to involve them in local camps, clubs and tournaments, but it is important not to push them too hard and let their love of the game develop naturally.
The Dachverband Winterthurer Sport is offering a great opportunity for kids to try and learn pickleball during the upcoming spring break (April 22 - May 06, 2023). The course will be led by the Pickleballverein Schweiz and is aimed at all children who are enthusiastic about this upcoming sport. Participants will be trained in the basics of playing pickleball while improving their coordination skills. More information and registration for the course are available at the link below.
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