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20200213 Casa Del Valle Pickleball Ribbon Cutting DAB 0021 webPickleball is a growing sport, not just nationally, but also in the Rio Grande Valley. Pickleball is a sport similar to tennis, but the court is only half the size and a whiffle ball reduces the speed a bit in the back-and-forth volleying.

The growth of pickleball is evident by how many city parks and recreation departments have pickleball courts, or are in the works of getting some in. If you look online, you can also find many Rio Grande Valley pickleball groups that have regular games.

When we covered a pickleball event in 2019, one Winter Texan said it’s the perfect game for retirees because of its combination of learning a new skill, getting good exercise, and the social aspect of meeting new people. The attraction, he said, over tennis is less movement is required, and the cost is minimal to play.

According to our 2019 article, pickleball didn’t really catch on in the Valley until about 2016. Much of it being played at community centers and some parks. Since then, several Winter Texan parks, like Casa Del Valle, Bentsen Grove, and VIP La Feria, have added courts. I am sure many more are being added since we learned of those. It’s also become a sport played at the Golden Age Olympics.

Recently, the RGV Padel Club announced its intentions on building the Valley’s largest-of-its-kind venue for padel ball and pickleball to be built in Mission (2513 Victoria Drive). The venue will offer 18,000 square feet of court space – enough for seven padel ball and six pickleball courts – and a 3,500 square-foot building that will house a pro shop and a bar and lounge area located on the second floor so that patrons can watch games from above.

Padel Ball Club owner (located in McAllen) Hector Ronquillo said that these racquet sports are gaining in popularity because they’re easier to play than their counterparts – and it’s really fun and really social.

20200213 Casa Del Valle Pickleball Ribbon Cutting webPadel ball originated in Mexico more than six decades ago and has recently gained momentum in the US. According to a quick google search, and the USA pickleball website, pickleball originated in 1965 in Washington. Originally a children’s backyard game, it has grown to include all ages and there is talk of it becoming an Olympic sport.

So why all this talk about pickleball? There will be an event next week, January 8 through 12, at the South Padre Island Convention Center completely dedicated to pickleball. The event is free to the public.

Each day they will have warm up from 8 to 9 a.m. Group lessons on tactics will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. There will be open play from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Skills and drills group lessons will be held from 2 to 4 p.m.

All lessons, (first-come, first-serve) will be provided by John Raschillia, a certified instructor by the Pickleball Coaching International, Dynamite Doubles, and IPTPA organizations.

Paddles and balls will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. Nets and courts will be provided and set up. The playing surface will be a taped concert court with swift nets. Court shoes will be required to play.

Again, this event will be held at the South Padre Island Convention Center located at 7355 Padre Blvd. For more information, visit https://www.sopadre.com/pickleball/. Be sure to check out other events on the Facebook page Rio Grande Valley Pickleball. You can also find courts throughout the state of Texas at https://www.pickleheads.com/courts/us/texas.