Teaching Pickleball in British Columbia Schools and Recreation Centers.

A six year experience and model for others to follow.

White Rock is the smallest community in BC, flanked by the largest, Surrey.  The Semiahmoo Peninsula encompasses South Surrey – population about 100,000 people . The three programs there have about 1500 players who have participated in a drop – in recreational program for six years that included, regular and routine teaching funded by our Rec center that kept a constant stream of new players entering our program.

This effort was headed by Luba Jehovic who taught badminton and came to Pickleball to teach this sport as well . Level I , Level II and skills improvement courses have been offered on a regular basis at a reasonable cost. We have found that unlike leagues, and ladders , this drop in format was preferred especially by our seniors, however requires 10x the number of players to keep the numbers up.

Simultaneously with this program , I spent the time and effort and cost to grow this sport outside of our center. This entailed making calls on Rec Centers as they opened, offering to train staff as well as initial players, making calls on area schools and others who wished the association to help with training of students. Each school was an individual situation needing nets, portable sets, balls and paddles to get started. The five session Level I or II courses ending with a mini tournament have been very popular. The staff, principals, and students have had a remarkably good response to this sport for all. When volunteers from our centers ( local ) are asked to help speed up the learning curve for these students, all proceeds have gone to the association to pay expenses of website and teaching. Our fees are the lowest of any sport coming into the school system to teach. All sports do teach in the school system. A police check is required.

We now have some 120 programs in BC , 40 known high schools and many Elementary schools that teach Pickleball. This adds up to many thousands of potential players when they graduate. We have trained some 177 instructors in the province to help in this effort and it is hoped more will follow.

Below please find a letter of introduction by a teacher, my response and follow through as to how this effort unfolds.

Although a bit of work, the rewards of teaching youth is always worthwhile as you always get back more than you give.

Enjoy reading about the process of teaching one school ! Why not try to do one yourself.

Chuck Lefaive
Founding director
www.bcpickleball.com

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 Making it work …..

From: Sister Mary Sabina
Sent: March-27-12 6:46 PM
To: Chuck Lefaive

Subject: Pickleball for schools?

Dear Mr. Lefaive,

Hello! My name is Sister Mary Sabina, and I teach grade five at Our Lady of Assumption School in Port Coquitlam.  Recently one of our sisters met you at Cloverdale Catholic School in Surrey, and she passed your business card along to me.  I am interested in having my students learn to play pickleball!  I know you have taught it in a few other area schools, and I am wondering if it would be possible to have you come to Assumption as well?  My principal is supportive, but we were wondering how it all works.  Does it cost anything?  Do we need equipment?  How long does it take?  How many classes can do it?  (Right now, grade 5 and 7 are definitely interested)  Any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated, and then I will discuss it with my principal, and hopefully be able to set something up!  I look forward to learning a new sport!

Sincerely,

Sister Mary Sabina, O.P.

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From: Chuck Lefaive
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2012 12:23 PM
To: ‘Sister Mary Sabina’

Subject: RE: Pickleball for schools?

Hi Sister Mary,

I was looking in my sent mail and it seems the reply I sent to you did not get sent – so here goes again.

Our program is a five session 30 min per student ending with a mini tourney capped by a Friday championship game.   Awards by Principal and school attending the final match which can be one for lower grades, one for upper grades and we are outa there by noon on Friday.

Cost is 20.00 per hr and depending on how many courts you have, we try to involved the seniors in your area to help monitor.  Hence the learning curve is quicker as the students get individual help.

If you have badminton nets and posts, you have saved a lot.  Paddles are $20.00 ea so say 30 as largest class = 600.00 balls @ 1.50 = 50.00 and you are good to go.  Paddles last up to ten years.

Some RC schools have asked the Knights to fund this project with success.

Best, Chuck Lefaive

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From: Sister Mary Sabina
Sent: March-29-12 12:45 PM
To: ‘Chuck Lefaive’

Subject: RE: Pickleball for schools?

Thank you for the information.  I am talking to my principal and athletic director to see what we have and what we need to get, and will contact you soon to try to set something up.

Sister Mary Sabina

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The first introduction and request to teach……

 

From: Chuck Lefaive
Sent: March-30-12 8:55 AM
To: ‘Sister Mary Sabina’

Subject: RE: Pickleball for schools?

Hi Sister,

A couple of points.  How many students do you have at the school and how many in grades 4-7 where you will get the best bank for the buck?  Do you have a badminton setup?  We try to use local seniors who help monitor the courts and increase the speed of the learning curve by coaching them as we go along.  Cost is the same no matter how many we use.

Best, Chuck

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From: Chuck Lefaive
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2012 12:23 PM
To: ‘Sister Mary Sabina’

Subject: Pickleball and Assumption

Hi Sister,

How are you making out with your P/E Phys Ed person and principal?  Have the Knights been helpful ?  Can we be of help ?   I have a cohort of people from Coquitlam who would like to help from their seniors program which will speed up the learning curve.

Please advise.

Chuck Lefaive

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From: Sister Mary Sabina
Sent: April-17-12 12:23 PM
To: ‘Chuck Lefaive’

Subject: RE: Pickleball and Assumption

Hi Chuck,

I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond.  I have been working on things, and we will be able to borrow equipment from Cloverdale beginning in May.  I missed our last staff meeting due to Holy Week, but tomorrow morning I will be talking about it with the teachers.  So far, grades 4-7 definitely want to do it, but we want to check with the younger grades, as it will affect their PE schedule.  If they want to participate too, is that okay?  How low can the ages go?  We are a K-7 school.

So basically, I should have more information tomorrow, and then hopefully we can look at scheduling.  Thank you for your patience!

Sister Mary Sabina

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Looking at the paramaters that we have to work with …..

From: Chuck Lefaive
Sent: April-17-12 2:15 PM
To: ‘Sister Mary Sabina’
Cc: ‘Valentina Paasonen’; ‘B Vickers’

Subject: RE: Pickleball and Assumption

Dear Sister Sabina,

We can go as low as you wish , keeping in mind that the expectations with the little ones will decrease as their hand eye co-ordination is not as good as the seniors.  Also, the time required would be greater .  How many students do you have in total, how many courts?  What time frame in May are we looking at?  Perhaps Wed – Friday on two successive weeks would give us five sessions plus the final ½ day on the second Friday for the finale and tournament getting us outa there by noon.

What do you think ?

Best, Chuck

Two more questions 1.  What is your largest class 2.  Do you have an outdoor asphalt area next to the gym where we could use portable sets to expand your capacity for larger classes?

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From: Sister Mary Sabina
Sent: April-19-12 11:06 AM
To: ‘Chuck Lefaive’
Subject: RE: Pickleball and Assumption

Dear Chuck,

Thanks for your patience!  Everyone in the school would like to do it, K-7.  Our largest class is 32, our smallest is 27, but most are right at 30.  We have one regular size gym, and it does have doors that open to a large blacktop area that we use as part of our playground.  Our calendar is fairly busy, so we are hoping for May 22-25, and 28 for instruction, with the tournament on the 29th.  How does that look for you?  As for courts, we supposedly have one net “somewhere in storage,” and could possibly borrow another one.  I will contact Cloverdale Catholic to see.

Thank you!

Sister Mary Sabina

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The outline for the school…..

From: Chuck Lefaive
Sent: April-19-12 11:48 AM
To: ‘Sister Mary Sabina’
Cc: ‘Valentina Paasonen’; ‘B Vickers’

Subject: RE: Pickleball and Assumption

Dear Sister,

Thanks for your excellent communications.  These dates will be fine.  Shall we say 9-3pm except the 29th when we will finish at high noon with the championship – one award for lower grades (  Gr 4 and under and one for 5-7.  We will also offer the students a prize for the class that presents the best PB cheer at 11:30  on the 29th. As many or as few as they wish to participate in each class may do so.  If you have a music program, we welcome any gifted music people to design and sing their own pickleball song.  We will give a prize for the best entry as judged by the principal in both of these cases.

I presume by your comments that you have two courts , which we might depending on weather augment with a couple of outdoor portable sets – chalking the courts.

With 30 students , two courts will be tight – the longer per session that you can give us the better.

We will have to alternate students to let them each use the courts in game situations.

If you have the end posts and center post ( badminton ) that will work.  If you do not find the lost Badminton net ( not Volleyball )  and need two – yes you could borrow from Cloverdale but if you wish them to play after lessons, you will need nets.  I have time to order them for you if you wish. Approx 45.00 per/ net.

Finally, with classes of 30 you may borrow paddles and balls from Cloverdale but will need to budget some for next year or get some in . Approx 22.oo per and they last 10 years easy.

It is interesting to note that this week, the CBC reported on a new study based on parental opinions of what level of exercise their children were getting in a given week. They erred by 50 % on the high side. Not Good. Maybe this is in part, because we have not offered children sports that are easy to learn, fun to play and sports that they can play till they are 90. Of course that applies to the parents too who are worse than the children.

Best, Chuck

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From: Chuck Lefaive
Sent: April-30-12 6:08 PM
To: ‘Sister Mary Sabina’

Subject: RE: Pickleball and Assumption

Hi Sister,

How is the schedule fleshing out ? I have 50 balls in house and about 14 paddles that the students can use if needed.

Best, Chuck

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From: Sister Mary Sabina
Sent: May-02-12 12:50 PM
To: ‘Chuck Lefaive’

Subject: RE: Pickleball and Assumption

Hi Chuck,

The last schedule I emailed you (it must be on a different reply list than this one) would be great, May 22-25, 28, and tournament on the 29th. We would also love to borrow the paddles and balls. I found three nets, but will try to set them up this Friday to be sure they are all functional. The rest of the paddles we will borrow for this year, and I will email Cloverdale as soon as track season calms a bit. Anything else we need to think of? We will make a schedule for all 8 classes, K-7, and get the monies organized. About how much will it be?

Thanks, and we are looking forward to having you all here later this month!

Sister Mary Sabina

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Putting it together …..

From: Chuck Lefaive
Sent: May-02-12 6:29 PM
To: ‘Sister Mary Sabina’

Subject: RE: Pickleball and Assumption

Dear Sister Sabina ,

Thanks for your communication….. I now understand that you have three courts. That is good. We will have at least two more courts outdoor for the students to use and maybe more.

As to cost, when we get a schedule, we will have a better idea as to what it is , as discussed, 20.00 / hr no matter how many volunteers we have. We are recruiting these now and we must travel from White Rock / South Surrey for 9:00 am arrival in Coquitlam  – car pooling with the volunteers . Although we tried , we have not garnered any volunteers from Coquitlam and Port Moody programs to date.

The nets should be set up 36” high and a droop to 34” in the middle.

I have purchased 50 balls and they are in abeyance for you. 1.50 each.

Please let me know the result of your net tests.

Thanks, Chuck Lefaive

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One or two items to be finalized.

From: Chuck Lefaive
Sent: May-15-12 8:36 PM
To: ‘Sister Mary Sabina’

Subject: Next weeks pickleball course

HI Sister,

The volunteers are now in place for next week.  I will bring two portable sets if weather permits , we may be able to use them outdoors.  If so , this will give the students two more courts and more court time.

A favor – we like to have the students play male , female partners – so if your teachers who know them better than us could pair them in roughly equal pairs for the duration, that will help a lot esp for the tournament.

Best, Chuck

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The final statement – to the sisters in Port Coquitlam.

 

From: Chuck Lefaive
Sent: May-30-12 6:25 PM
To: ‘Sister Mary Sabina’

Subject: Next year

Hi Sister,

My best wishes to all the sisters who by example are showing the way for families and students to take one more step toward fitness in Port Coquitlam.

I look forward to level II next year.

Best, Chuck Lefaive

Setting the stage for teaching in this school – inclusion of the adjacent rec centers, the focus of our teaching.

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From: Chuck Lefaive
Sent: March-31-12 10:19 AM
To: ‘Sister Mary Sabina’

Subject: RE: Pickleball for schools?

Dear Sister,

We have just completed a three session, tournament on the last at Children of Integrity Montessori School on Buoy Rd in Coquitlam.  Gina Mcmurchie – Barber was the teacher involved and the principal made the awards.  Although small, I feel it was a worthwhile effort to introduce PB to your area.  They have some excellent grade 6-7`s.

The Pinetree Rec centers as well as Port Moody Rec and soon to be Hyde Creek Rec centers will have PB programs.  Kids need access.

Best, Chuck

 

 


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