Updated: Oct 5, 2022
The Programme is for kids to be kids, to do real physical play, play with other kids, exercise, and leave those smartphones and tablets at home. Though the kids and parents call us Coaches, I have to admit that the kids have also taught me to be a better parent and human being.
For the older kids, where they are already athletically competent, they serve, they drive, they volley, and they get better every time I see them. We are able to get more serious with them, and they reciprocate. With the younger kids, I found out that the more fun they have, the faster they pick the sport up. The approach and method can be very dynamic as we are now using Pickleball as a method to teach them eye-hand coordination, spatial and body awareness. When a little one finds even the kid sized paddle too clumsy to wield, we change the drill to ball tosses and catches; when a kid is unable to anticipate the bounce, we replace the paddle with a net, serve balls all over the court and let the kid chase down and net the balls – the kids love it whilst unknowingly learning to anticipate the ball trajectory and bounce through play.
It is especially helpful that the parents only ask for the kids to have fun, to feel belonged in a group, to let them be kids. There are other perks the programme brings – as long as they are wielding a paddle, there is no place for the smartphone or tablet in their hands; and they even take on sweeping and squeegeeing the court of leaves and rainwater on wet days! How about that! It was particularly gratifying when I eavesdropped on Xuyue, a 6 year old young newcomer with her father while doing dink rallies. I heard Xuyue’s Daddy praising her with appreciation for hitting and sustaining the rallies. There has to be be something good about the programme, because Jeffery told me around the 3rd lesson, he had been receiving a lot of random calls from strangers asking him how they can enroll their kids into the course!
Looking at the kids, it just reminded me of my own childhood days, of us congregating and kicking around the hard 20 cent coloured plastic balls.
Today it is similar scene, but over Pickleball. I hope the kids will continue to be firm friends when they come of age, and look back with fond memories of these days, just like what I am doing now. I’m very honoured that Pickleball can be part this, and look forward to further growing the sport in this wonderful community, as well as emulating this programme in other neighbourhoods.