“The best thing about pickleball is that anyone can play – from the oldest to the youngest person,” Paul Curiale, one of two official Pickleball Ambassadors for Brooklyn, told a group of beginners at a recent pickleball clinic in Bergen Beach.
Curiale, who is also the Executive Director of Millennium Development, discovered pickleball over a year ago and wants to share his passion for the fast-growing sport with everyone, so he organized the Summer 2022 Pickleball Clinic and Open Play, held on Monday nights at the John Malone Community Center, 2335 Bergen Avenue. The first clinic was held on July 11th, and the turnout was more than Curiale expected.
The folks at Millennium set up four temporary courts on the center’s hockey rink for the 20+ eager participants who want to learn the rules of the game and take away some helpful pointers. Curiale gave the lessons, with plenty of time for practice, with the help of four Millennium staffers.
Bob Spieler, also known as Pickleball Bob, one of the founders of the Marine Park Pickleball Group, which has exploded to 500 members, was also on site to promote his love for the pickleball craze. Spieler and co-founder Michael Chaiet worked tirelessly with the NYC Parks Department to convert one tennis court in Marine Park to four pickleball courts (see “Tech Savvy Seniors Grow Pickleball Popularity,” Canarsie Courier, June 23, 2022). With the popularity of the sport growing in leaps and bounds, Spieler and Chaiet said they need more courts now.
Curiale said that Brooklyn also has four pickleball courts near the Fort Hamilton Army Base, four at Leif Ericson Park in Sunset Park and four courts at Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Unfortunately, Monday night’s game was canceled due to high winds and predicted thunderstorms. Those interested in joining a future clinic should download the TeamReach App and use code “Play1993” to join MillDevSports. Clinics are held every Monday through August 15th from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m., with open play until 8 p.m. Paddles and balls are provided.
Curiale offered some advice to beginners. “Always hydrate. Use court or tennis sneakers; the more you advance, you will need balanced sneakers. Don’t use running sneakers. Eyewear is important to protect your face, and keep jewelry to a minimum.” He also said that USA Pickleball has videos you can watch to improve your game.
Pickleball Bob has also invited new players to Marine Park, where he says he will try to leave one court open for beginners. You can also use the TeamReach app to book play there (Group Code MPPBA), seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can bring your own paddle, but they do have extras if you don’t own one yet. “Everyone who joins gets a free pin that says ‘Marine Park Pickleball’ and a patch,” Spieler said. “That’s my welcome for all new players.”
“We really want to see this sport grow,” Curiale concluded. Join in the fun next week!