Los Gatos Weekly Times

Pickleball courts draw hundreds of new players

Fast-growing sport `one of the top reasons people are here'

- By Hannah Kanik hkanik @bayareanew­sgroup.com

At the Addison-penzak Jewish Community Center, pickleball is becoming a “big dill.”

In the past four months, more than 450 people have signed up to play the fastgrowin­g, easy-to-learn sport at the Los Gatos JCC, said Danielle Patterson, the center's marketing and communicat­ions director.

“The pickleball courts have definitely grown in popularity,” Patterson said. “I'd say it's one of the top reasons people are here. You hear that `dink' sound when you walk through the door,”

The sport has taken over the country and launched a profession­al major league with investors including Lebron James and Kevin Durant as well as Tom Brady and Drew Brees. More than 36 million people picked up paddles and played the sport last year, including celebritie­s like Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.

“It's a pretty low-barrierto-entry sport,” Patterson said. “You have a bunch of people doing it who are trying pickleball for the first time, (as well as) former tennis players.”

The Los Gatos JCC resurfaced two of its tennis courts last summer with both tennis and pickleball striping. Four pickleball courts can fit into one tennis court.

They also hired a pickleball coach and have been teaching clinics and hosting hourly free play sessions, though the courts can be reserved at any time through the JCC'S app or website at https://apjcc.org.

Pickleball-related noise complaints made national headlines last week, with those living close to the courts feeling tormented by the metronome of balls hitting paddles, and some even suing local parks and private clubs in a last-ditch effort to stop the noise pollution.

The racket sport involves two or four players hitting a plastic ball over a nearly 3-foot-high net. It's known for being an easy sport to pick up, and the Los Gatos JCC wanted to make it even more inclusive.

In April, the center invited children with disabiliti­es and their families and caregivers to try out more than 10 sports, arts and dance stations specifical­ly designed for kids of all abilities to participat­e.

“Pickleball was one of them, and it was a huge hit,” Patterson said.

The Addison-penzak Jewish Community Center, located at 14855 Oka Road, holds pickleball open play Tuesdays, 9-10 a.m., Thursdays 5-6 p.m., and Sundays, 10-11 a.m. Instructio­nal clinics are being held Monday evenings and Wednesday mornings in July and August.

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