By Leslie Trotter
What do you get when you combine ping-pong with tennis and throw in a wiffle ball? Pickleball, of course – the fastest growing sport in the United States and Canada, and soon to be in Huatulco as well!
While usually perceived as a “game for older people,” it really lends itself perfectly for all ages, genders and athletic abilities.
Pickleball is easy to learn. Becoming really competent is another story but almost anyone can successfully hit the ball back and forth over the net their first day. Because the court is less than half the size of a tennis court and the paddle is short and light, it doesn’t require a high level of fitness. Pickleball does, however, work hand-eye coordination, balance, agility, reflexes and at higher levels, mental preparedness. There is definitely a strategy to pickleball once one reaches the intermediate+ level.
Another great thing about pickleball is that it’s inexpensive. A starter paddle is about $40 and from a Parks and Recreation perspective, pre-existing tennis courts work well for pickleball. Many a neglected tennis court has been revived for pickleball purposes!
The one thing that continues to astound me about playing pickleball is how often you hear peals of laughter coming from the courts. While competitive players take the game very seriously, the vast majority of people simply appreciate the exercise amongst friends, where inevitably crazy shots are a thing to cheer about. Pickleball is a very social game!
So now that I’ve got you intrigued to the point of wanting to experience this for yourself, what is a Huatulqueño to do about playing pickleball? Here are the current Huatulco options:
This is a well-organized group that had a humble beginning with a net and 2 sticks as posts in 2018! Fortunately, they’ve advanced since then and have introductory classes for those who want to try pickleball.
Levels: beginners to intermediate
Location: Escuela Secundaria Técnica 144, 3 covered courts; Unidad Deportiva, 4 covered courts
Season: November to March
Protocol: online booking
Fee: 50 pesos per day
Contact: Colleen Gagnon – firstname.lastname@example.org
Bahias De Huatulco Pickleball
This is a drop-in group without a lot of rules other than come and play.
Levels: beginner to intermediate
Location: Unidad Deportiva, 4-6 courts
Season: year-round, typically Mon, Wed, Fri: 8-11 am
Membership: varies, ±24 in high season
Fee: 50 pesos per day
Contact: Norm Ferguson – email@example.com; also on FaceBook
Marina Park Pickleball
This group formed as a way for more seasoned players to hone their game. These are uncovered courts and the play can be intense but in the end, everyone clicks paddles to acknowledge the sportsmanship of pickleball.
Level: intermediate to advanced
Location: Guelaguetza Park, next to Marina Park Plaza, 2 courts
Season: year-round, typically 7-9 am daily in high season
Membership: 15 main founding members with play-priority in high season
Protocol: drop-in when numbers allow
Fee: 50 pesos per day for drop-ins
Contact: Group is basically full – you’ll probably run across “someone who knows” if you play in the places listed above.
There are other places to play pickleball, such as Las Brisas Resort and some of the newer condominium developments. These aren’t listed since they are private clubs with membership fees, although I understand that during the high season, there is a very active group at Las Brisas. Omar is the contact to find out about monthly fees and the pickleball schedule – firstname.lastname@example.org.
So take heart, pickleball fanatics and interested others! There are great options from beginner to intermediate to make your time in Huatulco full of healthy, fun pickleball games.