Bristol Pickleball Club is celebrating the first anniversary of its weekly ‘open to all’ informal sessions held on Monday mornings at Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre.
Pickleball is a relatively new racquet sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis and is said to be a great way to get fit, have fun and make new friends.
Players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball over a net. All the necessary equipment can be provided by the club and those attending need only wear trainers and comfortable clothing.
Most of the people who attend the Bradley Stoke sessions are in their fifties or older, but the organisers emphasise that pickleball can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities, including those with limited mobility.
One regular attendee, Bethan, said she considered herself “very sedentary” before going along to one of the sessions. Now, she can’t believe how much her fitness has improved through attending regularly.
Another, Monty, who lives locally in Bradley Stoke, said he had heard about the sessions through word of mouth. He used to play table tennis and enjoys the mixture of skills that can be applied in the sport of pickleball. “You really can play at any age and any level”, he added.
“I hadn’t played any racquet sports since leaving school,” said Sue, another regular. “You can pick up the game within half-an-hour and be able to take part in a game.”
“We don’t take it too seriously and just laugh off any mistakes,” she added.
Local resident Paul Coakley, one of the joint organisers, explained that the game is more accessible than tennis for most people, due to its use of underarm serves and lightweight paddles.
Wishing to emphasise that old age need not be a hindrance to participation, Mary, a sprightly 83-year-old retired doctor from Frampton Cotterrell, told us: “No one’s too old to start exercising. The people in this group are so friendly, encouraging and enthusiastic. I’m delighted to have found it.”
The Bradley Stoke session takes place from 9am to 11am every Monday morning (including bank holidays and at all times of the year). Each two-hour session costs £7 but your first session is FREE! Those who choose to become members of the Bristol Pickleball Club are entitled to a reduced fee of £5 per session.
Average attendance at the sessions is currently around 14, with up to 20 on occasions, and most participants stay on to socialise over coffee afterwards.
Further details about the sessions can be found on the Bristol Pickleball Club page on Facebook or by calling 07901 752693.
More information about the game of pickleball is available at www.pickleball.org.uk
This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 42). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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