Pickleball Group Welcomes Newcomers with Open Arms

Pickleball Group Welcomes Newcomers with Open Arms

Stephanie Johnson practices her swing before joining a game of pickleball at the Green River Recreation Center Friday morning. SweetwaterNOW photo by David Martin.

GREEN RIVER – A group of pickleball enthusiasts are inviting residents to stop by the Green River Recreation Center to talk with them or try the sport following comments made at recent Green River City Council Meetings.

During the morning hours of any given day, one can find members of the Green River Pickleball Friends and Family at the recreation center’s basketball courts playing pickleball. The sport itself has been branded the fastest growing sport in the country, especially amongst older people, due to it not requiring a strenuous amount of physical activity and its easy-to-learn nature.

“It’s like tennis, but four times as easy,” Randy Walker, one of the local pickleball players, said.

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Matt Bowen, the president of the group, said the recreation center has been great to work with and said they’re also working with City Administrator Reed Clevenger and Parks and Recreation Director Katie Duncombe to address concerns and work towards an agreement that benefits both the recreation center and the group. 

One concern Bowen seeks to address is the idea that the group isn’t paying for the space they’re utilizing. During the mornings one or two pickleball courts are set up and Bowen said the club only utilizes space on the basketball courts that isn’t being used. He said they could set up four pickleball courts within the gym area, but won’t expand if other recreation center patrons are using space in the gym. He said the group doesn’t reserve the basketball courts for pickleball as they’re not an exclusive club and openly invites people to try pickleball. They’re willing to teach anyone how to play and have extra paddles available.

“It’s open to anybody,” Bowen said. 

Stephanie Johnson, who recently started playing the sport for the past few months, said the group has been very welcoming to her since she started playing.

During the summer months, the group plays at the Edgewater Park tennis courts, playing when the tennis players are not competing. People who want to learn can go to the recreation center from 9-11 a.m. during weekdays, stop by from 8-10 a.m. Saturdays or from 2-3:30 p.m. on Sundays. The also has a public Facebook page.