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Burnley Leisure members and staff have been the first in the country to put their swing to the test as part of a new pickleball training course.

Held at St Peter’s Leisure Centre, Burnley, the certified instructors’ course saw a group of 14 people master the racquet sport over two days.

To attend the programme people gathered not only from Burnley, but also from Leeds, Liverpool and even Scotland.

The training was delivered by a fully qualified pickleball instructor June Walker, 70, who flew in from Florida, the US, to help inspire people to play the game of pickleball correctly.

June has offered her expertise to the UK Pickleball Association to introduce the course which will help bring about a standard of training and ensure everyone gets the best possible start in the game.

She said: “Pickleball is a great sport for all ages and abilities and its popularity is fast growing in the UK. One of the difficulties most groups face when starting playing pickleball is having someone with the knowledge to train newcomers to the sport.

“The correct foundation learned via this course, will give instructors and residents the best opportunity to progress to whatever level they wish to achieve in playing pickleball.

“The course went very well, all participants passed successfully so I’m looking forward to delivering two more courses in Oxfordshire and in Maidstone, Kent.”

Pickleball is a racket sport which was created in the USA in 1965. The sport is played on a badminton-sized court and combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis.

The reduced speed of the ball and smaller size of the court makes it the ideal game for the elderly population.

The pickleball sessions are open to men and women of all abilities who are over the age of 50 and are being delivered as part of Burnley Leisure’s Active Adults initiative to create more sporting opportunities for older residents across the area.

The sessions which will now be led by newly qualified instructors are held on Thursdays at St Peter’s Leisure Centre. Sessions take place from 10am-12.30pm every week and cost £3.50 per person and includes free use of the gym and a swim.

To book a place in advance, or for more information, call Jane on 01282 477134 or email healthylifestyles@burnley.gov.uk. Alternatively participants can simply turn up and play on the day.

Burnley Leisure’s Get in2 team now have five qualified pickleball instructors who will also be organising sessions for younger people to come and try the sport.

Sessions for people aged 14 and over will be offered as part of Get in2 programme of activities. For more information contact the Get in2 team on 01282 477167 or email getin2@burnley.gov.uk.

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