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7 comments / Posted on by Sara McInnes

I just want to start off this week's article by saying that on a couple of levels I genuinely wish that this was not a topic of discussion. Unfortunately, though, we are experiencing an extremely challenging time and despite all that is going on, the question “is it okay to still play pickleball or not during the COVID-19 pandemic?” is causing a burst of controversy across the pickleball world. I’ve decided to write my thoughts on this because as an ambassador of the sport, I feel this is an opportunity to remind the community that this is the time to support the entire pickleball world. 

What I’ve seen and heard, people who continue to still play pickleball on public property, with people who they do not live with, are justifying themselves in the following ways:

  • Playing outdoors is safe.
  • Sanitizing the ball(s) is a safe practice.
  • Drilling or playing with just one other person is safe.
  • Ensure they are maintaining the 6+ feet away from one another.
  • Wearing a glove on their non-playing hand makes safe practice.
  • Not showing any symptoms means they are probably OK (aka healthy).

Here’s my counter to these claims:

  • Most cities and municipalities are on lockdown, meaning you can leave your house for essentials but that's pretty much it. Where I live, one can be fined up to $5,000 CAD for using prohibited spaces such as sport courts and parks. 
  • The ball(s) you’re playing with will roll on the ground, hit the net and posts and will make plenty of contact with your paddle face. Where are you putting your paddle once you’re done playing?  How are you keeping your paddle sanitary and ensuring that you are not directly contacting your paddle face?
  • It’s advised by health officials in Ontario that you should minimize in-person interaction with anyone outside of your household.
  • Again. It's advised by health officials in Ontario that you should minimize in-person interaction with anyone outside of your household.
  • Unless you are throwing out gloves each time you play, those gloves are being placed in a bag or in your car and coming home with you.
  • Symptoms vary person-to-person, many will not show symptoms at all. Showing symptoms is not a good enough gauge on whether you should play pickleball or play pickleball with someone not in your household.

Not playing has been tough. Sometimes I feel as though I'm losing "my touch". But as an alternative I’ve decided to keep active and burn calories with home workouts, running or cycling at strategic times of the day and living room yoga. While these options are not quenching that pickleball craving, I'm able to maintain my cardio fitness and most importantly, it leaves me knowing that I am practicing appropriate social distancing.

Friends and fellow players, I know that pickleball has transformed your lives as it has done for me and that we intend to play the sport for many, many years to come. During COVID-19 please re-consider the next time you plan to play and ask yourself if practicing pickleball is truly an essential or if giving it up for a few months is the appropriate action? Consider the vulnerable age groups and the entirety of our sport. I believe that together we can be champions, ambassadors and role models of pickleball.  Together, we can do our part and help stop the spread of this virus.

I look forward to seeing you again on the pickleball court. Until then, please be safe and be well.

7 comments

  • Posted on by Sara

    Thanks for your comments, everyone! I hope you’re all finding ways to slowly bring back pickleball into your lives. It’s been a lot of singles games for me these days :)

  • Posted on by Philip Oulton

    My wife(Lorna) have been playing pickleball everyday during the month of May. We started out with chalk lines, then tape lines. Wind and rain caused havoc to the court. Last weekend I painted lines using old tole paint supplies and some house paint. The court is smaller, approximately 14 feet wide by 28 feet long, with a kitchen about 4 feet deep. The net is a little lower, about 30 inches high. A great area to play singles.
    I am sure others have made their own court in order to get their pickleball fix. Not sure we can keep it up for 365 days( winter weather) but we are going to try.
    Enjoy pickleball!! ~Philip Oulton

  • Posted on by Diana

    So true Sara, thanks.
    Any good recommendations on home exercises for pickleball? Stay safe and healthy!!!

  • Posted on by Sue e

    Great article and is so true. Hard not playing but better off for a while to keep more people save

  • Posted on by Megan Boisvert

    Very well said Sarah. Thank you !

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