Local Pickleball group expects growth from new court construction

Published 4:49 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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On Mondays, you can find Mike Albritton at the Potter Street Elementary School Pickleball courts. With just two courts to play on, he and a group of around ten people express their shared interest in Pickleball.


“It’s just kind of something fun,” Albritton said. “We’re not very competitive, but it’s something socially that we can do together.”

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According to Albritton, two courts aren’t enough for the interest in Bainbridge of Pickleball. He says the lack of courts keeps the sport from growing in town.


“The most popular way to play Pickleball is doubles, so that’s four people on a court,” Albritton said. “If you only got two courts and you have sixteen people showing up, you’ve got folks sitting around waiting to play.”


Good news for Albritton, Bainbridge is about to get more courts. 


The YMCA and Bainbridge Decatur County Recreation Association (BDCRA) plan to build Pickleball courts at their facilities. The BDCRA has already started construction on 12 courts and plans for the courts to be done by mid-July. 


“When I went out there last, you can tell that they were definitely progressing forward,” said Tabitha Spooner, a BDRCA chairwoman. “Ours are getting there, and they’re almost ready.”


The YMCA is still in the planning stage for its court construction.


Albritton, a Pickleball ambassador of Bainbridge, looks forward to the courts being playable. He said more courts would improve the sport and help it grow. He expects the most growth from younger, high school-aged kids and the older population.


“You’ve got a lot of seniors that are going to want to get out there and play,” Albritton said. “Then you can introduce younger kids to it as well. This will be an opportunity to really get a lot of people involved in Pickleball. 


He also said that with more courts, Bainbridge could host Pickleball tournaments and bring more sports tourism to town. Albritton said the group he organizes on Mondays is just for fun, but there’s a “competitive edge” to it all.


“One of the things that we’re missing in Bainbridge right now is that competitive play,” Albritton said. “In Moultrie, Thomasville and even Cairo, there’s leagues. We can start a league and start playing against those teams.”


Albritton said the most important result of having more courts would be more people playing Pickleball.


“The biggest thing you’ll see is you’ll see a lot more people playing every day.”