The award-winning student news site of Olympic Heights High School

The Torch

The award-winning student news site of Olympic Heights High School

The Torch

The award-winning student news site of Olympic Heights High School

The Torch

Making a Racket: Olympic Heights Offers Pickleball Courts

63 Views
Making a Racket: Olympic Heights Offers Pickleball Courts

Pickleball has been around since 1965 and has been growing in popularity ever since. This sport combines badminton, tennis, and table tennis all into one sport. Paddles are used in the sport, and they resemble a mix of a tennis racket and table tennis paddles. The sport is gaining recognition — even in our own community and school. 

Pickleball was invented in 1965 by Congressman Joe Pritchard, businessman Bill Bell, and inventor Barney McCallum. They used paddles made of wood or plastic and a plastic, whiffle-like ball that has holes in it. The scoring system is similar to tennis: scores go to 11 points, but players must win by two. This game can be played as doubles or singles and has specific rules that the men listed above carefully crafted. 

The sport has increasingly become more popular due to the number of tournaments, media exposure, health benefits, accessibility, and the social aspect. This sport can be played in doubles, which might also be a good way for others to make new friends. This activity also provides great exercise that improves one’s cardiovascular fitness and is a low impact workout that can be done at personalized levels. It’s easy to learn and accessible to anyone at any age. 

Although many pickleball tournaments are occurring throughout the world, the sport has yet to be considered for the Olympic Games. For now, celebrities like Billie Eilish, the Kardashians, and former tennis pros Andy Roddick and Serena Williams play the trending sport. And it’s no surprise that Florida is the most popular state to play in because of our year-round sunny weather. 

Even though interest across high schools has skyrocketed recently, pickleball may not become a varsity high school sport for a while. Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) is the governing body of high school sports in Florida. Currently there are 22 recognized sports. FHSAA Executive Director Craig Damon shared that they have received several inquiries from Florida high schools to learn more about how pickleball may become an official sport of the FHSAA. Damon explained that to gain recognition and adoption by FHSAA, the Board of Directors must ensure specific criteria are met for high school sports (according to FHSAA Policy 3.3). This includes:

  • At least 10% of senior high schools from at least two of four administrative sections must submit letters of petition
  • No more than three-fourths of these schools can be from the same administrative section
  • Each school submitting a petition must have had a program in the sport for at least two years, actively participating in competitions with other schools
  • Petitions must be submitted within the same school year and become invalid at the end of that year

Recently, Olympic Heights created pickleball courts on campus to make this sport accessible to our community. Coach Mears, a physical education teacher and wrestling head coach at Olympic Heights, spoke about the sport and his involvement. “Pickleball challenges the mind and increases hand-eye coordination, which has so many benefits in life,” Mears claims. “My wrestling has gotten way better, and my overall health and wellness have improved dramatically this year from playing pickleball with my students and friends.” He also thinks that students’ focus and concentration from playing pickleball will benefit them because it challenges their mind. 

For now, there is no pickleball team or official club that is associated with Olympic Heights High School (OHHS). Anyone can go out to the courts and use them, and many teachers have done so.  A group of teachers at OHHS even formed a pickleball team. “The idea came from the increase in popularity within the community,” shares Iliana Cruz, OHHS Single School Culture Coordinator. “We are a community high school and wanted to offer the pickleball courts as an option to groups that lease out our facilities.” Cruz also mentioned that there are no coaches involved and PE students are the only students using the courts right now.

For those interested in pickleball but can’t access the courts at OHHS, dedicated courts can also be found at nearby South County Regional Park in Boca Raton.

View Comments (18)
More to Discover

Comments (18)

All The Torch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • S

    Skylar CuenotApr 29, 2024 at 11:54 am

    looks like a blast!

    Reply
  • A

    Auryanna floresApr 19, 2024 at 2:14 pm

    Looks so fun!! Good to know!

    Reply
  • J

    Jacob YaciukApr 18, 2024 at 4:22 pm

    Great article, Pickleball looks so fun!

    Reply
  • E

    Ethan TainesApr 18, 2024 at 11:46 am

    THIS WAS FANTASTIC AMAZING SPECTACULAR

    Reply
  • A

    Angelina MagnayeApr 18, 2024 at 11:28 am

    I’m glad they added a pickleball court at our school!

    Reply
  • T

    Tori ScaglioneApr 18, 2024 at 11:28 am

    This is great. I love pickleball !

    Reply
  • S

    SantiagoApr 18, 2024 at 11:27 am

    I love playing pickleball with Coach Mears!

    Reply
  • A

    Ayleen GalantiniApr 18, 2024 at 11:23 am

    Interesting article. I now know more about pickleball.

    Reply
  • J

    Julia Andrade XavierApr 18, 2024 at 11:21 am

    Wow I had no idea OH created pickleball courts!

    Reply
  • M

    Madison KlaperApr 18, 2024 at 11:21 am

    I love pickle ball! It’s such a fun sport.

    Reply
  • E

    Elite IsraeliApr 18, 2024 at 11:21 am

    super cool I didn’t know that!

    Reply
  • T

    Tabassum ChowdhuryApr 18, 2024 at 11:21 am

    Pickleball is never talked about. It’s cool to learn about it.

    Reply
  • J

    Jacob UApr 18, 2024 at 11:20 am

    Very nice article, love pickleball.

    Reply
  • A

    ABRAHAM DAVID QUEROApr 18, 2024 at 11:20 am

    This is probably the worst game I ever played.

    Reply
  • H

    HayleyApr 18, 2024 at 11:20 am

    its great that we have pickleball<3

    Reply
  • A

    alexaApr 18, 2024 at 11:19 am

    Very informative and cool to hear about! Great article

    Reply
  • S

    SophiaApr 18, 2024 at 11:18 am

    I didn’t know Olympic had pickle ball. That’s really cool.

    Reply
  • A

    AriApr 18, 2024 at 11:18 am

    Good to know! I was actually considering pickleball a couple of months ago!!

    Reply