ATASCADERO — On Apr. 13, the City of Atascadero, with guidance from the Atascadero Pickleball Club members, finalized plans for four permanent pickleball courts to be built at the Colony Park, behind the Community Center and basketball courts.

On May 19, according to Barbara Sims, President of the Atascadero Pickleball Club, the city will put the plans out to bid in early June. The cost estimate, as of November 2020, was $260,000. The Atascadero Pickleball Club has raised about $50,000 to contribute to the construction.

Councilmember Charles Bourbeau, recently said “I am happy to support the building of permanent pickleball courts as a councilmember and donate to the cause personally. The courts will be a great addition for the entire Atascadero community because the game is open to all ages and skill levels.”

Pickleball was invented by Washington State Congressman Joel Pritchard, and businessman Bill Bell, in 1965. Seeing their kids sitting around with nothing to do, they found a badminton net but no rackets. They found ping pong paddles and a Whiffle ball and invented pickleball. The basic tenets of the game are similar to soccer in that anyone of any age and any skill level can play. The game is physical, mental, and social, building individual and teamwork skills while making new friends.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

The Atascadero Middle School (AMS) has recently started teaching pickleball in Physical Education (PE) classes.

When asked about its acceptance at AMS, Assistant Principal Will Wallace said, “It is great for our students on so many levels. First, our PE teachers love being able to tie their curriculum to real-life as much as possible. Our students are actively participating in something that is extremely relevant right now. It is a sport they quickly learn to enjoy, but one that they can continue to play well beyond their years here. Pickleball is fun, competitive, social, and also inclusive — meaning it’s accessible (and enjoyable) by students with a range of athletic abilities. We are definitely proponents.”

The Atascadero Pickleball Club recently did a demonstration for the Atascadero Rotary Club, and it was a big hit. Rotary Past-President, Don Idler of Idler’s Home, was elated, stating, “After playing a very short time [at the demostration], I realized this is real exercise, and it was fun. I think most of us now have a better understanding of just why this sport is spreading like wildfire (a bad term to use this time of year). It seems to check all the boxes for good fun, fellowship, overall mental and physical health.”

If you want to learn how to play, just show up at the basketball courts at Colony Park, where the Atascadero Pickleball Club sets up portable nets while waiting for permanent courts to be built. They’re a friendly bunch and will provide you with a paddle and lessons whenever they are there, which is Monday through Friday, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

There is also a group that plays regularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. Club members are also willing to come to your group or business to teach some basics and help you get started. You can contact them through their website at AtascaderoPickleball.org.

Club President Barbara Sims, along with other club board members, has shepherded the process of getting permanent courts, over the last few years, after forming the non-profit 501(c)3 Atascadero Pickleball Club.