Pickleball Comes to San Miguel
By Victor Guzmán
Pickleball is Mexico’s newest sport, promoted and played here by Gordon Asimus and Bill Nellis, and there is already an organized club in San Miguel de Allende. So far, the San Miguel Pickleball group has 25 active members who play four mornings a week on courts located at La Deportiva on Salida a Celaya. Both locals and expats play, and the game is simple enough to learn that language is not a barrier. Pickleball is like tennis but is played on a smaller court, with squared-off paddles and a plastic whiffle ball. The game consists of two teams trying to score 7–11 points by making their opponents miss their return of a volley or a serve. Players of all ages can enjoy the game.
We’re amazed at how quickly pickleball is growing in Mexico. The first time we played in North Carolina, we didn’t do very well. Exposure to the game whetted our interests, however. When the opportunity presented itself again, we were ready. I am now one of seven US Pickleball Association Ambassadors to Mexico. Here in San Miguel, we have two public courts, and we’re hoping to get more. Membership is free to everyone.
We are looking for schools that may want to introduce this new sport to their students. Pickleball is played indoors or out on a badminton court 44 feet by 20 feet. A 36-inch net in the middle divides the court. Players use a wood or composite paddle that’s bigger than a table tennis paddle but smaller than a tennis racket. They play with a hard plastic whiffle ball that is served underhand and must bounce before it is played. Players score points by successfully hitting balls past their opponents, and good shot placement is more important than power. The size of the court allows for good shot making but spares the participants from having to run too much.
It’s a wonderful sport for you if your knees are bad, your hips are bad, or your rotator cuff is shot. Most of the people who play have played some kind of paddle or racket sport before. For those who are truly novices to the sport, there’s one essential physical attribute that a potential player must possess: balance. Everything else can be learned.
For more information, videos on the sport, and a schedule of play dates and times, check out the website www.smapickleball.com. You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.