The Northeast Texas Community College tennis courts have been renovated and are now able to facilitate tennis and pickleball matches. As pickleball becomes more popular NTCC is including it in the physical education curriculum. Pickleball classes will be offered as a physical education credit and through Continuing Ed. Classes will be available in the 2023 spring semester. Dr. Johnathon McCullough, Executive Vice President for Advancement, said the demand for pickleball has increased drastically.
“We have had a huge demand from potential people in the community and potential students for us to offer pickleball classes,” McCullough said.
McCullough said the equipment will be provided for students who take pickleball as a P.E class and options are being explored to facilitate students who need to borrow equipment recreationally.
Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America with 4.8 million players in the United States according to Pickleheads.com.
“We are trying to get ahead of the curve and not behind,” said Dr. McCullough.
The outdoor/indoor sport is similar to tennis and ping-pong using wood paddles and a perforated ball. The second largest age bracket of pickleball players in 2021 was ages 18 to 34 in 2021 making the first largest age bracket 55 and up. McCullough said the sports accessibility was also a contributing factor.
“Pickleball is a sport for everybody,” McCullough said.
One of the benefits of pickleball is that it brings people together.
Carter Erickson, pitcher for NTCC’s baseball team, says pickleball brings his neighborhood together.
“I love pickleball,” Erickson said. “During the summertime we have a whole neighborhood competition. We all come out. It’s fun, it’s competitive, and you’re laughing the whole time.”
Chapel Hill High School uses NTCC’s courts for UIL tennis. McCullough said Chapel Hill is thinking about adding pickleball as an official sport.
“Chapel Hill has recently started talking about adopting pickleball as an official UIL sport,” McCullough said. “If they do that we would be ahead, having the courts already. I can see small pickleball tournaments being held on our campus.”
The tennis/pickleball courts are available for use to all students. For more information on pickleball classes contact McCullough.