LIVINGSTON, NJ — A group of 10 Livingston residents eager to gain tips on a game they love to play recently gathered at the Northland Pool Tennis Courts, for one of the Free Pickleball clinics offered by Livingston Pickleball, a group of about 150 Pickleball players from the area.
This clinic worked on where to serve and why, and the “Dink,” which is the art of dropping a shot just over the net.
Lead instructor Michael Garber, who has been playing for less than 10 months, said everyone had a good time and learned something that they can now use in their game that will make them better players.
Livingston Pickleball is free and open to anyone who is interested. According to Garber, both skilled players and those who have never played before will find it a "friendly, welcoming environment with the players willing to teach you the game."
There are also extra Pickleball paddles for those who do not own one.
Games are currently played every day of the week except Friday. The schedule is as follows:
Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 10 a.m. at Northland Pool Tennis Courts.
Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Northland Pool Tennis Courts.
Sunday at 11 a.m. at Northland Pool Tennis Courts.
Mayor Al Anthony, who recently included Pickleball on a council meeting agenda, said that Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in Livingston. In fact, due to its popularity, the council agreed to paint Pickleball lines on both the Heritage and Memorial Park tennis courts when they are redone next year.
“We’re proposing 10 dual-use Pickleball/tennis courts by the end of next year,” Livingston Township Manager Michele Meade said at the meeting. “So there will be six more courts after the rehabilitations are complete.”
Currently, Pickleball players across town have been taping lines on the existing tennis courts and tennis players are often frustrated with the lack of shared space available. The dual-sport courts will allow the two popular sports to co-exist.
The Pickleball courts will be used in the same way the tennis courts are currently being used, which is first come, first serve.
“If the situation changes and that’s going to be difficult, we can put some other system in place,” said Meade, who also reminded the council that there was a reservation system many years ago that no longer seemed necessary. “[Pickleball players] can still use any of the other tennis courts and continue to use tape until we rehabilitate them.”
Councilman Ed Meinhardt recommended putting signs up now so that people understand that the courts are intended for dual use with a one-hour time limit if people are waiting.
Councilman Shawn Klein also suggested that when the county redoes Riker Hill Art Park, the council should look into placing some additional Pickleball courts.