Building mandate hits pickleball numbers


The vaccination pass requirement at EA Networks Centre is heavily impacting pickleball playing numbers and new blood is needed to continue to boost the game in Ashburton.

A My Vaccine Pass has been needed at the sports and aquatic centre for anyone over the age of 12 years and 3 months since December 3.

The requirement has impacted a number of sports, including pickleball, as well as gym and pool users at the Ashburton District Council run facility.

There were healthy pickleball numbers of around 24 before the vaccine pass was introduced, but that has been slashed by a third.

A spokesperson for Pickleball Ashburton said a couple of regulars had also moved out of the district and now playing numbers at some sessions were sadly in the single figures.

Depleted numbers meant the same players were playing each other week in week out and there was less singles games being played.

Pickleball Ashburton is encouraging anyone to give the game a go and to see if it is for them.

Some regular players have tennis, table tennis or badminton backgrounds, while others just enjoy playing the sport.

Pickleball has grown in Ashburton since it was introduced three years ago and players have been involved in local and national tournaments.

EA Networks Centre has successfully hosted tournaments that have drawn good numbers and boosted the local economy.

A cross between tennis, badminton and table tennis, pickleball is played on a badminton doubles-sized court and uses paddles and a hollow, plastic ball with holes in it.

Pickleball sessions run on Tuesdays (5pm-7pm), Wednesdays (9.30am -11.30am) Fridays (6pm-8pm) and Sundays (3pm-5pm).

Equipment is available to use and sessions cost $4.

Pickleball Ashburton has a relationship with Selwyn Pickleball and will be having exchange visits in the near future.

To find out more visit the Pickleball Ashburton Facebook page.

-By Mick Jensen