Greater Trail pickleball enthusiasts can take their game to the next level this week by attending one or a series of clinics set to go in Trail, Castlegar, and Rossland.
Pickleball pro and coach Mark Renneson of Third Shot Pickleball travels across North America competing and helping all levels of players improve their game and was recently coaxed to the West Kootenay by local pickleball organizer Robert Boyd.
A high-level tennis player and Level 5 coach with a degree in education, Renneson found his pickleball niche when he moved from Vancouver to Collingwood, Ont. in 2014 and began playing the emerging game at the local YMCA. He found that many people enjoyed playing the game, but instructors were few.
“I discovered that people play pickleball everywhere but very few people were teaching to make people better,” Renneson said. “I came home one day to my wife and I said, ‘I think I could teach pickleball.’ I saw a market for it.”
He created his business, ‘Third Shot Pickleball’ with a nod to the all-important-shot after the serve is returned. The third shot defines the point, and can determine who has the advantage, who has the momentum, who has the chance to win. Thoughtful players take this shot very seriously and are deliberate in how they play it, says Renneson on his website.
Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports and has swept North America, including Greater Trail, where the city installed pickleball courts at the Greater Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre two years ago, and is enjoyed in gyms throughout the region.
The 36-year-old also Renneson also competes at the highest level (5.0 Pro), and played in the first ever US Open Pickleball Championship last April in Naples, Fla., in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, but it’s teaching the game that has become his true passion.
“What I really enjoy is being a part of someone else getting better … Pickleball is interesting to me because it’s a new avenue where I can be a part of other people’s learning.”
A drop-in, non-instructional play with Renneson from 10 a.m. to noon goes on Saturday at the Willi Krause Fieldhouse in Trail. On Sunday, novice, intermediate, and intermediate-plus clinics run at Selkirk College in Castlegar from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a novice course from 1-2:45 p.m. and intermediate-plus from from 2:45- 4:30 p.m. scheduled for Tuesday at the Trail Memorial Centre gym. Wednesday a clinic for Intermediate-plus training goes at the Rossland Summit School from 5:15-7:15 p.m., and on Thursday in Trail with Novice at 5 – 6:45 p.m. and Intermediate-plus from 6:45 – 8:30 p.m. Call Trail Parks and Rec. to sign up for the Trail sessions at 364-0888.
For clinics in Rossland and Castlegar go to http://www.thirdshotsports.com/sign-up-now/ .