There continues to be a growing trend in pickleball with the re-resurgence of bringing youth into the game.
AAU, the Amateur Athletic Union, has teamed up with the USAPA with the primary focus of youth in pickleball.
Along with the USAPA education initiative, whose primary goal is to reach out and teach Physical and Health Educators in the K-12 grade levels and teaching kids how to play, we are now looking at creating youth only tournaments.
The USAPA offers youth entries at the Nationals as young as 8. To have a youth only tournament will help give local kids the vehicle to get to larger tournaments.
This year, the Battle of the Paddle IV, is actively pursuing the idea of adding a youth day on the last day of the tournament.
The Paddle of the Paddle IV is scheduled to run Dec 6-9, with the 9th being a open day for makeup, tournament director Steve Manolis is working with others, including AAU, to bring a youth tournament into the event.
Local USAPA Ambassdadors Susan Manolis and Joan Gillespie, along with friends Mark Merrill, Bob Ham and Nancy Howe joined Steve Manolis in introducing pickleball to 15 Kyrene School District PE teachers.
We donated 8 paddles, 2 dozen balls and a portable net to the host school.
Each PE teacher received a 2018 IFP Rules Book and age appropriate curriculum packet to teach student ages 5-13.
This brings a total of 27 PE teachers in SE Valley of Phoenix that have been introduced to pickleball.
We are seeing a huge upward trend in the game at the grammar and middle school levels.
Also with us were two grammar school students (ages 5 and 8) who learned to play.