Husband and wife Steve and Deanna Skinner are opening Nova Scotia’s first dedicated indoor pickleball facility in Bedford.
Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in North America. It combines aspects of tennis, badminton and table tennis into one sport that almost any age can play.
In Nova Scotia, nearly 1,300 members are officially registered with Pickleball Nova Scotia, according to president Pat Morrison. He said the real number of players is likely higher, with estimates as high as 10,000 but he said it’s impossible to know.
Prior to pickleball, Steve practiced taekwondo until an injury led him to pick up a paddle. He loved how the sport brings competitors of various ages together.
“I remember when I first started playing, I would walk on the court and play against 65-year-old women and they’d kick my butt … I love that,” he said.
These days Steve plays almost six times a week. He said he and his wife decided to open their facility so pickleball wouldn’t have to compete for court time with other sports.
According to Pickleball Nova Scotia’s website, of the 19 central region facilities that offer drop-in pickleball, just three have weekday slots that aren’t during a typical 9-5 workday.
“All the community centres people play at; in the evening those courts get taken up by basketball or whatever sport, which leaves people nowhere to play,” Steve said.
The Skinners found a warehouse that used to host an indoor soccer facility. Steve said they proceeded with CrossCourt Pickleball after 100 people committed to becoming members. They want to have their three courts open 24/7, with late nights available by special request.
Krysta MacIntosh and Tineke Weld competed at this year’s pickleball nationals in Kingston, Ont. They said they’re excited for the new facility.
Weld has already signed up to be a member of CrossCourt pickleball. She plays at two locations, which makes it difficult to compete consistently against other pickleball players. She plans to bring her friends to the new courts too.
“It’s a convenient thing, and also a really great social benefit and an opportunity to get better at the sport that I really love,” said Weld.
For MacIntosh a dedicated facility would mean more freedom to play when she wants.
“A lot of the pickleball times are in the morning during the week. So it’s not good for people who work. So if a dedicated pickleball facility opened and they had evening times and weekend times, that would be excellent for a lot of people,” said MacIntosh.
CrossCourt Pickleball is set to open in December.
About the author
Jack is a fourth year journalism student at the University of King's College.