Southwest Michigan Pickleball summer tourney Aug. 1

Southwest Michigan Pickleball will host its inaugural summer tournament at Plym Park Aug. 1. (Submitted photo)

Southwest Michigan Pickleball will host its inaugural summer tournament at Plym Park Aug. 1. (Submitted photo)

Southwest Michigan Pickleball is hosting its inaugural summer tournament at Plym Park Aug. 1.

The tournament is for all skill levels and will feature men’s and women’s doubles on eight courts. The rain date is Aug. 2.

The cost for entering the tournament is $25. For more information about registering online visit www.swmichpickleball.org and go to tournaments.

Southwest Michigan Pickleball will also be hosting a clinic with national champions Jim and Yvonne Hackenberg at 4 p.m. July 31.

Cost for the one-hour clinic is $27 and is limited to 16 players. The Hackenbergs will also conduct a one-hour demonstration beginning at 3 p.m., which is free to clinic participants, tournament entrants and volunteers. A $10 fee will be charged to non-clinic participants.

Deadline for entering the tournament is Saturday.

“They will be demonstrating some of the finer points of pickleball,” said Doug Clark of Southwest Michigan Pickleball. “It takes a while before you pick up on the techniques and strategies. The younger players use pure athleticism in the beginning. The more seasoned players develop some of the strategy.

“If you get four players who are really good, it is exciting to watch and exciting to play.”

Clark said that the tournament is open to people of skill levels. He also said that attending the clinic and the tournament would be good for those who are interested in learning about pickleball or already know how to play, but want to up their game.

“Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports,” Clark said. “It initially was big with the retirement crowd so it was big in Florida and Arizona. The last few years it has spread. It attracts a lot of retired tennis players because they already have the skills needed to play pickleball.

“It is also one of the few sports where you can be a non-athlete and can learn the game and be good at it. A lot of younger people are getting involved. We have players ranging from 18 up to close to 70 years old.”

Gold medal winners will receive a commemorative Bantum XL tournament paddle from Paddletek valued at $85. Paddletek will have a booth at the tournament with their full line of paddles including the new Tempest paddle.

The summer tournament is a fundraiser for Southwest Michigan Pickleball. Money raised will be used for purchasing balls, nets, sponsoring clinics and general club expenses.

The tournament is being held in conjunction with Niles Trails and Ales Festivus, which is within walking distance from the tournament. Players and attendees are encouraged to enjoy the music, craft beer and Michigan wines that will be a part of the celebration.

Brandon Schmeling from Niles is the tournament director.  He can be reached at bschmeling@swmichpickleball.org.

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