Do you love pickleball and want to see it grow in your community? Harriet Berks Kalin and her husband Josh Kalin have been very successful in their efforts to grow a pickleball community. In just eight months, they have inspired 100 people to start playing pickleball in SE Florida!
Harriet and Josh live in Delray, Florida, about 40 minutes north of Ft. Lauderdale. After they retired, they moved to Florida from the northeastern United States. At first, retirement simply meant no longer working. On a visit to The Villages in central Florida they were introduced to pickleball. They fell in love with the game and started a new chapter of their lives as Pickleball Ambassadors for the USA Pickleball Association.
The Kalins purchased their own portable net system and began looking for places to set the net up and play pickleball. Harriet enrolled others to help her contact community centers and parks and recreation centers all over SE Florida! Harriet offered pickleball demonstrations an clinics. She told program directors how wonderful pickleball is and how easy it is to set up a pickleball court using a portable net system and some temporary court lines.
Harriet got a great response!
More and more courts were created and more and more people began to show up for pickleball!
The Boca Raton parks department painted permanent pickleball court lines on a basketball court to make it multi use. Palm Beach County Rec Department will be painting 6 permanet pickleball courts at Caloosa Park inside the hockey rinks at Boynton Beach, Florida. Delray Beach is considering adding even more courts.
The Kalins know that pickleball is a social sport. As more people play pickleball, more people love the game and share it with their friends. New players are showing up at pickleball courts in Jupiter, Delray and Palm Beach, Florida.
The Kalins believe that, “Once you become addicted to pickleball, you want everyone to play.” The trick to growing pickleball is to get people to see and play the game.
Josh and Harriet have some tips for getting pickleball going in your community:
- Ambassador – Join the USA Pickleball Association and become a Pickleball Ambassador.
- Local Media – contact your local newspaper or TV station and invite them to do a story on pickleball.
- Network – talk to everyone about pickleball. There is great value in good old fashion word of mouth.
- Polite – Always be polite when you approach a new community about pickleball. Ask permission to give a demonstration or start a pickleball group.
- Tennis – Contact tennis clubs and groups about pickleball. Offer to do a demonstration for their members. Several pickleball courts can fit on a tennis court. There is a great opportunity for these clubs to benefit from reaching out to the pickleball community and increase the usage of their facilities. Many people who no longer play tennis are very interested in pickleball. Pickleball can be a way for tennis organizations to expand their offerings.
- Portable Net System is KEY – a portable net system was crucial to the Kalin’s success. They learned that the most important pickleball player is the one who owns the portable net system!