Pickleball fever grips West Exe School!

Daisy Hall
Authored by Daisy Hall
Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2024 - 9:45pm

Students at West Exe School, part of the Ted Wragg Trust, have been picking up their paddles and taking part in the pickleball craze that has been sweeping the country!

Pickleball, once a niche sport, has exploded into a nationwide craze in recent years, captivating players, regardless of their age or skill level. The game first emerged in the 1960s and is a mixture of tennis, badminton and ping pong, it has gained momentum in recent years as the ultimate social sport, bringing people together to take part in a fun and accessible form of exercise. 

Pickleball has now been introduced into the PE curriculum at West Exe School and they also run a weekly pickleball club at lunchtime which is well attended.  The school also runs an electives programme, where students pick from a number of enrichment courses every term, pickleball has been added to the menu with lots of children selecting to undertake the elective, which is now supported by external coaches from Exeter Pickleball. 

Bruno a Year 9 student at West Exe had the following to say about the game:

“I really really enjoy pickleball because it keeps me active and it's great fun. I get to play with my friends, it’s opened up more opportunities and allowed me to try new things”. 

West Exe students have also completed coaching courses in pickleball to develop their own leadership skills.  Not only do students enjoy the game, several members of staff have now also become keen players!

Its smaller court size, lightweight paddles, and perforated balls mean the game is also suitable for older people looking for a low impact activity that still provides a decent workout.  The fact that it’s easy to pick up and has a quick learning curve also attracts younger players, which has led to a diverse and inclusive pickleball community that thrives on friendly competition and camaraderie.

Pickleball is now evolving into a serious sport with professional players and international competitions, as well as the development of coaching programs aimed at refining players' skills and strategies. The sport also has many health benefits from improved cardiovascular endurance, to helping  to strengthen muscles and developing hand-eye coordination.  

In Devon pickleball is offered at Mid Devon Leisure Centre and Exeter Leisure Centre.  You can find your local pickleball club here.

Harry Chambers, Teacher of Sport, Health and Nutrition at West Exe School said:

“Pickleball has been a welcome addition to our curriculum and extra-curricular offer at West Exe School.  The inclusivity of the sport and the speed at which you can make progress has seen it become very popular with both students and staff. 

“As an emerging sport in the UK, it is really important that we increase students’ awareness of the different modalities of physical activity that they can adopt throughout their life and pickleball is certainly one that we are promoting!”

Julie Fossey, Headteacher at West Exe School said:

“Whether played casually for recreation or pursued competitively, pickleball's rise in popularity shows no signs of slowing down!  I am delighted that we have embraced pickleball at West Exe. We want our students to enjoy being active and it’s clear how much fun they have when they pick up a paddle!”

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