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pickleball

Tired of tennis? Bored of badminton? Then why not pick up a paddle and join Burnley’s active adults for a game of Pickleball.

The sweet game with the sour name is a flourishing and fast-growing sport played by local residents, who are inviting others to join in.

Pickleball is the main sport on offer as part of the Active Adults programme, which runs every Monday and Thursday between 10am and 12.30pm at St Peter’s Leisure Centre.

Maureen Smith, a local Pickleball enthusiast, said: “Pickleball is a great sport for all ages and abilities. It is easy to learn, full of heart, creates friendships, and is a great fun to play. We have people from as far afield as Bury, Wigan, and Halifax join us for informal double matches full of friendly banter and good spirit.

“I’d like to encourage local residents to give it a try and join the growing number of pickleballers in Burnley.”

The popularity of the game has soared in the town over the past two years and a local Pickleball group now meets on Monday evenings between 7pm and 9pm.

Pickleball has been played in the USA since the mid-1960s and is popular in the retirement communities of Florida but is only now starting to break through in the UK and the wider world. Burnley Leisure was one of the first locations to introduce the paddle sport in 2015, thanks to its former employee Elaine Shallcross, who has won Pickleball tournaments all over the world.

It is a sport in which two or four players use solid paddles, like large table tennis bats, to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. Played on a badminton court, the net and rules are similar to tennis but the sport prides itself on being much easier to pick up. The reduced speed of the ball and smaller size of the court makes it the ideal game for older people.

Linda Searle, operational manager for Up and Active programme, said: “It’s a great sport for men and women of all ages, especially those wishing to keep active in later life.

“The game does not involve as much running around the court as other racquet ball games and, therefore, it is less stressful on the joints. Pickleball is surprisingly skillful – it doesn’t have to be a power game – and I’d encourage everyone to come and have a game.”

In addition to Pickleball, Active Adults sessions also include table tennis, fitness suite, exercise to music, stretch ‘n tone, badminton and swimming.

For further information on Active Adults sessions, please contact St Peter’s Leisure centre 01282 664444. For more details about the Monday night sessions please contact John Nuttall on 07973 421 192.

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