Ridgefield High School opens new pickleball courts to the community

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Ridgefield High School has opened two outdoor pickleball areas that are accessible to experienced players and novices alike.

The pickleball courts have been painted onto the school’s tennis courts located off Hillhurst Road in Ridgefield, stated a news release.

The courts are open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis outside of school hours which run from 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Student athletes who are practicing or competing will get first priority for the courts both during school and after school hours. Since there is no lighting installed on the courts, they will not be open at night, stated the release.

The high school has also installed indoor pickleball courts at the Ridgefield Administrative and Civic Center, but they are currently unavailable to the public. The courts have already been reserved through the district’s Community Education program, but district officials hope to make them available for the public’s use in the near future. Part of the district’s plan is to have time slots available for adults and children, as well as for school and community-sponsored events, stated the release. 

Pickleball has quickly become one of the fastest growing sports in America. It combines elements of badminton, ping pong, and tennis, making it a fun and easy game.

Pickleball was invented accidentally in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, stated the release. At that time, Joel Pritchard and two friends planned to set up badminton courts for their families but couldn’t find their shuttlecock, so they improvised. The group found a wiffle ball and lowered the net. After breaking multiple badminton rackets, they made new ones out of plywood. Pritchard’s wife named the sport “pickleball,” because it reminded her of the “pickle boat” in rowing, where a new crew is created by combining rowers leftover from other teams.

Pickleball courts have smaller dimensions than standard tennis courts, so the game involves less range and movement. Two people are required for singles and four for doubles.

The sport has become a staple in Ridgefield High School physical education classes.

“Now that Ridgefield has its own courts, the district hopes to see more residents getting and staying active by participating in this fun and engaging sport,” stated the release.

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