Youth getting into the swing of pickleballDec 11, 2020 04:45PM ● By By Peri Kinder
By Peri Kinder | [email protected]
KAYSVILLE–Even with COVID-19 limiting activities, it’s been a fabulous summer for youth pickleball, according to Tammy Wursten.
Wursten became the unofficial ambassador for pickleball in Davis County when she marked up a sport court in her HOA and invited friends over for a game of pickleball. It was such a success, she had permanent courts painted at her HOA as she campaigned for more courts in her city of Kaysville.
“It’s more than just a fun game. It’s a game for all ages. Eight-year-olds can play and 90-year-olds can play,” she said. “I love to teach people how to play pickleball when they are in dark places in their lives. It’s hard to play pickleball without laughing and having fun. It’s changed people’s lives.”
Wursten expanded her pickleball circle to include youth in Davis County, and their families. She taught her grandchildren at Barnes Park and other kids began showing up to play.
During a time when many activities have been canceled, the youth pickleball movement in Davis County is picking up steam. Wursten attributes its success to the ease and accessibility of the game, as well as the opportunity it gives families to play together.
“The true heroes today are the parents,” she said. “They’ve had to change their lives and be with their kids 24/7 and have extra responsibilities that they never had before. Many parents have been so grateful for pickleball. It unites you as a family. There’s something special about playing competitively with your own kids.”
Helen Monson, a Kaysville resident and mother of seven, started playing pickleball three years ago as a way to stay active. She now has three children playing the sport: Daniel (14), Mary (11) and Emma (10).
Monson played in the Pickleball Nationals last year and would have played this year, if not for COVID. She never knew she’d make hundreds of friends doing something the entire family could do together.
“[It’s fun] because everyone is welcome, you can start at any level, and it a great social and physical activity. It really is just a win-win for everyone,” Monson said.
Several youth pickleball tournaments were held this year, from Brigham City to West Jordan, and nearly 130 youth participated in the Kaysville event. Tyler Loong, a local pro-pickleball player, organized the Utah Junior Pickleball Organization, offering clinics and tournaments for youth in Davis, Salt Lake and Utah Counties.
“The youth are making so many new friends while getting better at a sport that they love and some are even putting away scholarship money for college at the same time,” Monson said.
High school and middle schools are offering pickleball clubs with an enthusiastic response from students and parents. With no long-term commitment and inexpensive equipment, the popularity of the sport continues to grow. For information about youth pickleball, contact Wursten at 801-628-7347.
“I’m so glad that there’s been so much pickleball in this area this year,” said Mary Monson. “Tammy has put together youth groups almost every day this summer and I met so many friends and new partners. It was fun winning medals in tournaments and I also won scholarship money for college too, which was awesome. I had to beat my older brother to get it, but he has beaten me plenty of times, so we’re even.”