About a year after adding platform tennis to its lineup, East Hampton Indoor Tennis is at it again. This time the club at 175 Daniels Hole Road in East Hampton is offering the latest craze to hit the tennis circuit: pickleball.
Pickleball is a form of tennis that is played on a smaller court; a pickleball court is 20 feet wide by 44 feet long as opposed to a regulation tennis court, which measures 36 feet wide by 78 feet long. The game is also played with smaller, wooden paddles and with a ball that would be best described as a Wiffle ball.
Vanessa Heroux, an instructor at the East Hampton Indoor Tennis (EHIT), will now be the director of pickleball at the club and plans to put on a clinic on Saturday, June 22, to introduce the game to the public. A start time for the clinic has not been chosen yet.
“Pickleball is very popular among seniors, although a lot of younger players like to play it, too,” she said. “You can only score points when you serve and you play up to 11 points. You have to win two out of three games.
“While you can play singles, most people play doubles and that’s what we’ll be teaching here mostly,” she continued.
Scott Rubenstein, managing partner at EHIT, said pickleball will be played on the facility’s existing platform tennis courts, since the size of its courts match those that are used in pickleball. Rubenstein explained that he had heard about a club in Florida that installed 100 pickleball courts so he started to research the sport more.
“It’s a pretty cool game and we’re excited to have it here,” he said.
EHIT will also be holding its inaugural EHIT/USTA Tennis Fun Day this Saturday, June 15. The day will consist of a USTA Tennis Festival that will start around noon and be run similar to a carnival.
There will be a number of different stations with a variety of activities aimed at showing tennis as a fun and athletic sport to youth.
Throughout the day there will also be USTA sanctioned 6-, 8- and 10-years-old and under tournaments for children. Both the festival and tournaments are priced at $20 each, but if people sign up for both they get a $10 discount and pay $30 total.
Rubenstein said the USTA, the national governing body of tennis, is trying to keep up with the times and curve the sport to youth by starting its Quickstart Tennis play format. Similar to dropping the height of a basketball hoop, or shrinking the size of a soccer ball, the USTA is providing tennis balls with less pressure so that they are easier to strike for children. They are also lowering the height of the nets.
Kevin Cretella, one of the tennis pros at EHIT, will be running the Fun Day. “We’d like to have young players come out and get into it,” he said. “There will be many different learning activities at the festival and we’re just trying to get kids hooked on tennis.”
To sign up for the fun day, call (631) 537-8012, or email Vanessa at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kevin at email@example.com. For more information about pickleball, go to www.ehit.ws or www.usapa.org.