About 15 children from the St. Catharines Club Roma Soccer have been introduced to pickleball thanks to Niagara-on-the-Lake Pickleball Club.
Ranging from eight to 13 years old, the members of the U11 boys’ team spent a Sunday afternoon at Virgil’s Centennial Sports Park learning how to play pickleball.
As the soccer club’s coach Nika Skender is deeply involved in the sport in NOTL, the soccer club contacted John Hindle of the NOTL Pickleball Club to arrange the day, said club manager Natalie Walker.
“We thought it would be fun for boys to try his (Skender’s) sport,” said Walker. “We weren’t sure what to expect but the boys are doing really well. And I think the parents are enjoying it, too.”
When Skender first started playing pickleball, he said he fell in love with the sport. He said he plays in Virgil as well as at the Haig Bowl Arena in St. Catharines and in Grand Island, N.Y.
The NOTL club arranged the Aug. 24 game at no cost and provided all the equipment. With four NOTL Pickleball Club volunteers helping to coach, Skender said he really appreciated their help.
“These kids are very accomplished soccer players,” said Jim Sifton of the NOTL Pickleball Club. “You can see they’re co-ordinated. But they’re having fun, too. That’s the biggest thing.”
Jaxson Hildrth, 11, said he enjoyed playing pickleball but he likes soccer as it is more “competitive.”