Pickleball is a net game that is growing in popularity largely due to the “snow birds” (retired Canadians wintering down south) who are picking it up in areas such as Arizona and then bringing it back home. It is best described as a combination of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton. All games are played with doubles and the rules are quick to pick up. Check out the Pickleball Canada website for the full rules, etiquette, and strategy guide.
It is easy to play a game of pickleball in a school gym using the badminton lines and lowering the net, but the growing popularity will probably mean that there are pickleball courts in your area that you could also use. The use of these courts is usually free, and it is always more fun for students when they get to go on a field trip. It also increases the chance of them playing pickleball in the community later on as well. I have even contacted the local pickleball club and they have sent out members to teach and play with students. It was great for students, because they received more one-on-one attention and they also made connections with the members, and were invited to play with them during the evenings and on weekends.
If you are going to play with your class, have students warm-up their lower and upper body with traditional dynamic movements. Then give them challenges using their pickleball paddle and ball – continuous bounce, continuous bounce while walking, alternating sides of the paddle to keep the ball up, alternating sides of the paddle and walking, etc. Next, tell them the rules and allow them to rally to get used to the paddle and ball. It’s then time for games! Keep it fun by switching up opponents and/or partners frequently. Have fun!