Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States and Miami University is trying to keep up with the trends. Miami Recreation and Employee Wellness teamed up this summer to offer a Pickleball Workshop on Monday’s and Friday’s for our faculty, staff, and retirees. We had an outstanding turnout and we are so thankful for Celine Walton with Employee Wellness for setting it up. We also couldn’t have been successful without our tremendous instructors, Tony S., Kathy S., Joanne W., Jim B., and David K.
On September 12th we also had the pleasure to host the Oxford 2018 Masters Pickleball Tournament. We had over 20 participants come out to compete in the tournament for fun and a big congratulations to the winners, Chris A., Tom K., Joyce H., and Joanne W. This was a great collaboration with our community and we enjoy hosting a portion of their Masters Games each year.
We reached out to Tony Shepherd, one of our pickleball instructors, dedicated members, and the author of the weekly pickleball newsletter. He has been playing pickleball on a regular basis since 2014 in Richmond, Indiana. Prior to his retirement, Tony secured a $100,000 grant from the State of Indiana Division on Aging in 2011. He used the grant to build pickleball courts in five communities in east central Indiana to promote health and fitness in an innovative way among older adults.
Tony retired in 2016 with over 40 years of experience in executive administration and the last 28 years were spent at Indiana University. He found the Miami Recreation website had indoor pickleball listed and was played most mornings. He immediately secured a membership and started participating regularly. Tony found that although there were few players at that time, they were friendly and welcoming. A list of interested individuals was developed from Oxford, east-central Indiana and surrounding communities and he began to send his weekly pickleball newsletter. He also created the Facebook page “Pickleball for fun and fitness” so everyone could stay connected and engage further interest. “With the wonderful assistance of the Rec Center management, we also began to offer clinics for new Players. These joint efforts have resulted in an ‘explosion’ in the number of players,” says Tony.
What has pickleball meant to you or changed your life?
“Pickleball has significantly improved my overall physical fitness health and social wellbeing. Specifically, my doctor visits show a reduced Blood Pressure rate, lower resting heart rate, weight loss with improved strength, balance and endurance. The individuals who play pickleball at the
Rec. Center are great to be around and all very helpful and supportive to new players. Pickleball is a multi-generational sport and it is a bonus when some MU students, children and grandchildren join us for play.”
What would you recommend to someone who is interested in picking up the sport of pickleball?
“If you are interested in playing pickleball at the Rec Center you can usually come on any morning Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 and/or attend a pickleball clinic. Paddles and balls are furnished so all you need are “gym shoes” and an interest in fun and fitness. We also have weekly information on our Facebook page.”
Do you have anything else you would like to mention about pickleball or your experience here at Miami Rec sports?
“The Miami Recreation Sports Center is ‘state of the art’ for fitness and the best venue in this region for playing pickleball year round, however, the best of all is the welcoming atmosphere exhibited by the
friendly staff, administration, and pickleball players: You do meet the nicest people playing pickleball!”
We want to sincerely thank all of the help of our instructors, Celine Walton, and the Employee and Wellness Staff and everyone who came out to the Pickleball Workshops this summer and a big congratulations to all of the competitors in the Oxford 2018 Masters Games.
By Beth Keith, Customer & Facility Services Assistant Director