Kneeling: L to R, Jane Whitmore, Beth Thorpe, Louise Rashleigh, Judy Selfridge. Standing: L to R, Ron Tofani, John Brassard, Sally Farrar, Frankie Brassard, Marylyn Tofani, Mary Jane Stanley, Wes Daum, Ted Selfridge, Paul Farrar, Bill Stanley.


Pickleball Clinic Comes to SB

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Thursday July 12, 2012

Along with the many camps and group activities available to the South Burlington Community, there is a group of people devoted to the lesser-known game of Pickleball. Pickleball is increasingly becoming one of the most popular, and family-fun sports in America. The sport is played on a badminton size court, or a tennis court, with a perforated plastic ball, slightly sturdier than a whiffle ball, and paddles made of wood or composite. It is quite easy to learn for beginners, which is why all ages learn to play for great exercise and family bonding.

Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles, and a single lesson is all that is necessary to begin to learn how to play correctly. Children are beginning to learn the sport in Physical Education classes in school, which is a great foundation for a sport that can be played for a lifetime. Anyone that has played similar sports such as badminton, ping-pong, tennis, and racquetball, can easily learn how to play pickleball.

The USA Pickleball Association governs the sport, and maintains the rules and tournaments in America. Here in SB, we have an avid group of people that enjoy playing at least twice a week, coordinated by Ambassadors-at-Large Ron and Marilyn Tofani and Local-Ambassador Vince Thibault. This group recently participated in the Invitational Vermont Senior Games in Shelburne, to qualify for the Senior Olympics that take place in Cleveland, Ohio. There were 26 participants from Vermont in Shelburne this year. It takes about 5-6 years to build a team for the Senior Olympics, and South Burlington is hoping to eventually have a team go to the games, but for now the Pickleball in South Burlington is all about having fun with friends and family.

Local pickle ball players Ted and Judy Selfridge reserve the tennis courts at Szymanski Park from 9am-11am every Friday to play and socialize with other pickleball fanatics. They also play at that location Monday mornings at the same time. On Saturdays, clinics are held at the Colchester location at Bayside, run by the Tofanis. Also, during the fall, winter, and spring, groups can play at the Robert Miller Center off North Avenue when outdoor weather is not cooperating. All are welcome to join at any of these locations and times.

Coming up on Saturday, July 21, this group is offering an Introduction to Pickleball Clinic from 9–11am at Szymanski Park. This introductory lesson is open to any person that would like to begin to learn the sport. No equipment is necessary, just be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. This clinic will provide each individual with the basic skills necessary to play pickleball, so that all can have the knowledge to teach their own friends and families. The South Burlington pickleball players are passionate about teaching the game to others, so that many more can enjoy the great sport, company and weather. They hope to see you at the clinic on the 21st, or at any of the locations in the future.

You can learn more about the national league, pickleball locations in Vermont, and how to purchase equipment at

SOURCE: Allison Hurley, SB Recreation and Parks