Port Stephens’ Pickleball players are popping with passion for new pastime

Margaret Thompson and her partner Ron Jackson getting ready to face-off against couple Mary Cunnington and Stu Johnston.


PICKLEBALL is one of the fastest growing sports across the globe with over 3 million players in the United States of America alone.

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It’s a hybrid of tennis, table tennis and badminton with a smaller playing surface to allow for greater court coverage for all ages.

In recent years the sport has seen an uptick in participation in Australia with over 1,500 players across all states.

For Margaret Thompson, Coordinator of the Pickleball Seniors Group at the Nelson Bay PCYC, it’s really starting to take-off locally with residents across greater Port Stephens chasing a game and wanting to be involved.

“We’re getting so much interest week-to-week about the sport and how people can come and get a game with us,” said Ms Thompson.

“At the moment we simply don’t have the court space or room to bring new members into our group which is a real shame.

“We’ve been setting up our own courts with tape in the small hall at the PCYC!”

While there has been some interest from Nelson Bay Tennis Club and Nelson Bay PCYC to expand and co-convert some existing court space for Pickleball, COVID-19 has rightly slowed some processes down.

But, as restrictions ease it’s hoped that community groups and organisations can come together to help get more residents involved in the game.

“We want to expand the sport in the area, basketball courts, indoor and outdoor halls, and tennis courts are all ideal playing surfaces,” says Ms Thompson.

“It’s an all abilities and all ages sport that encompasses a good level of fitness for all involved!”

Bob Mendelssohn, President of Pickleball NSW and Chairman of Pickleball Australia, said that the game is multifaceted and draws in the social elements of competitiveness and fun.

“We have players across Australia from 7 years old into their 90s,” said Mr Mendelssohn.

“The sport is rapidly growing across the regions in NSW, taking in Tamworth, Ballina, Nambucca Heads and of course the bigger cities.

“Once you get that paddle in your hand, you’re hooked!”

For more information on the sport visit https://www.pickleballnsw.org/ or contact Nelson Bay PCYC.


By Mitch LEES

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