January is a time for new year resolutions. One of my resolutions is to visit as many pickleball clubs as possible this year – with a stretch target of getting around them all!
The year has started off well, we have played at 5 venues already. OK, two of those we play regularly at, Eastbourne (3 times a week) and Tadworth (SLAP once a week). The week of 7th January though we travelled through 9 counties to play pickleball. Tuesday we travelled from East Sussex, through West Sussex and Hampshire to get to Dorset to play at Bournemouth. The timing of the visit was driven by a desire to meet up with Lucy Kitcher a Pro player who hails originally from England and new resides in Florida. Lucy is a Facebook friend and was visiting with her family. As she regularly organises tournaments I felt like it was an ideal opportunity to pick her brains. My husband would get to play against a 5.0 player and I would get to visit a club and tell them about pickleballEngland. It was a very pleasant 2+ hour drive. Luckily we always leave early to get places on time, just as well we did because whilst the roads were clear, trying to find a parking space took 15 minutes. The second week of January and everyone is still keeping their new year resolution to get fit = no parking spaces!
Thank you to Ken, Rod and the players we played with, for your hospitality. It was great to hear about the success of Bournemouth Pickleball Club, founded January 2016. It was great to hear that you have a growing number of players and you have expanded the number of sessions to three to cater for the demand.
Friday night we went to our usual Friday night SLAP session at Tadworth, except that we got there for 4pm so that Chris could play singles with some other guys. 4.0 and above standard play and you are watching an intense workout and lots of strategic play. Chris lost his first 3 games and then went on to win the next 3 against the same players!
Saturday we got up bright and early to drive to the Hertfordshire Sports Village at Hatfield, driving from East Sussex through Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and then Hertfordshire. The venue was hosting the Hertfordshire Pickleball Festival for nearly 100 players. Five hours of play, managed by the Pickleball Events Committee’s Louise Stephens conducting play with the players board and timers. It was fabulous to see so many people, primarily from Hertfordshire, enjoying an afternoon of pickleball. It was also good of Julie Mac, Leo Gonzalez and Sam Basford to provide free coaching for players.
Before the play started, Frank and myself gave an update on pickleballEngland to players that had indicated they were willing to help pickleballEngland. It was so nice to be able to talk to others about our upcoming plans rather than just a dialogue between the two of us!
We departed the festival a little early because we had to drive to from Hertfordshire to Kent via Essex – giving us our 10th county of the week!
The reason for going to Kent was to host the first SE Singles League at the Maidstone YMCA. As if Chris hadn’t played enough singles on Friday, he now had another 7 matches to play! See my South East Singles League post for more information.
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