Tuesday 15 October 2019

Anyone for a game of 'Pickleball' out there?

Irish and American Pickleball coaches, Debbie Brown, Michael McNieve, Mark Atwood and Jennifer Butler
Irish and American Pickleball coaches, Debbie Brown, Michael McNieve, Mark Atwood and Jennifer Butler

Pickleball is the lastest craze sweeping North America and the fun sport for the over-60s has landed right here in Fingal and seems to be thriving out Portmarnock way and on the Donabate peninsula, in particular.

Portmarnock Pickleball Club recently hosted two American pickleball players to present 'Teach The Teacher' and 'Learning to Referee' Clinics at the Portmarnock Community School. 

Jennifer Butler, IPTPA certified, 5.0 level player, from North Carolina, and Mark Attwood, experienced referee, 4.5 level player, from California were the experienced coaches who visited the club to deliver the classes.

There were 19 participants from Dublin, Portmarnock, Donabate and Northern Ireland to learn the correct techniques for teaching beginners and intermediates and learning numerous drills to instill proper technique.

The afternoon was focused on learn how to referee, players were able to referee, while other participants got some play time - each person taking a turn at refereeing the games.

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in North America, as well as seeing high growth in Europe in the past three years.

It is a fun, social sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.

It is played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a slightly modified tennis net.

It is played with a paddle without strings, slightly larger than a ping-pong paddle, and a plastic ball with holes.

The game itself is very easy to take up for first time players and no racquet sports skills are necessary to play. It caters to all ages of player, in particular, to the 60-plus age group.

Pickleball is offered as a class in the Adult Education programme at Portmarnock Community School.

Anyone interested in giving it a try can sign-up through Adult Education or drop in on Monday nights from 7 pm to 8:30 pm for €5 (equipment provided). I

n April, the Irish National Pickleball Championships will be held in Multyfarnham, with the Dublin Open Pickleball Championships in Malahide/Portmarnock July 5-7.

If you're interested in giving pickleball a try or hosting an Intro To Pickleball event, contact Debbie Brown at 087-096 6682 by text or by email at

Thanks goes to Portmarnock Community School for allowing the club to use the sports hall to deliver the course.

Fingal Independent