Pickleball players – from beginners to advanced – gathered Sept. 16 at the new pickleball courts at Mesa’s Kleinman Park.
“The interest level (in pickleball) is very high,” said Steve Manolis, USA Pickleball Association district ambassador, Arizona Central Region. “We played for about two hours, rotating in whenever people wanted to play.
“The status of pickleball is in a large growing phase,” he said. “Sports Fitness International Association estimates there are 2.5 million people who have played pickleball in 2015. They also estimate that by 2018 there will be close to 8 million players. They estimate the growth of the game coming from a younger demo.
“The USAPA (USA Pickleball Association) is focused on developing pickleball curriculum and instruction at the K-12 level as well as the collegiate level,” Manolis continued. “This growth of players puts a demand on cities and communities to build public access courts and we are happy to see the city of Mesa be on the leading edge of this growth with the courts at Kleinman Park.”
Matt Mixer, executive director of Arizona Health and Physical Education (AZHPE.org), was one hand to support the growth of pickleball. Mixer also met with USAPA Regional Director Linda Hoggatt and Collegiate Ambassadors Matt Hampton and Andre Mooney to discuss the development of pickleball and the importance of having curriculum at the school level.
“The group of players that came out to Mesa’s Kleinman Park also plan on coming every Wednesday and Saturday evening to play and promote the sport,” Manolis said. “The USAPA would love to see the courts populated every day and are willing to offer classes, skill training and support where needed and hope to work with the city of Mesa and the Mesa School District in developing and promoting the sport to people of all ages.”
– Kelly Mixer is managing editor of MyNewsMesa.com. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.