Eighteen Canyon Lake youngsters ages nine through 17 learned to play pickleball at the Pickleball Club’s winter Junior Clinic.
In addition to learning the basic skills and rules of pickleball, the participants accepted a challenge to see who could bounce the ball on the paddle the most without dropping the ball.
“Five of the participants reached 150 consecutive hits and we had to stop them, as we learned from last year’s champ who went to 1148 before we could see she wasn’t ever going to miss,” Steve Libring, club secretary, said. In the sudden-death speed challenge, Brayden Engwicht won in the younger division and Natalie Alvarado won in the older division.
After the lessons and challenges were completed, participants were paired up in a mini-tournament and played three rounds to try to accumulate the most points. Ryker Carter and Clayton Guy tied for first place. Carter won the tie-breaker match.
In the older division, Geo Kanso took first place with a perfect score. Kendall Elliott and Cali Hillebrand tied for second place, each scoring just two points less than the leader. The first place winners of each division were awarded a Head pickleball paddle. The other winners received Nothing Bundt Cake gift cards.
In the general raffle for all participants, Roger Alvarado and Dominic Gambina won pickleball paddles. Six other participants won Bundt cake gift cards.
Not to be left out, the parents joined in on the fun during the day and received free lessons. They were also entered into a drawing for a new pickleball paddle. Val Gambina’s lucky number was drawn.
“I’m simply amazed at how one three-hour clinic can take young children from never lifting a pickleball paddle to playing a competitive tournament with their friends,” Paul Hawker, club president, said. “I’m proud of these kids and how quickly they learned, and it’s great to see the parents get involved too.”
For more information about the Pickleball Club and what it offers, contact Steve Libring at [email protected].
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