Calgary Home and Garden Show: Create a pickleball paradise

Pick up the fine art of pickleball and maybe even build a backyard or basement court.

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If you thought only senior citizens relished pickleball, hang onto your paddle. The majority of people rallying around North America’s fastest-growing sport are now between the ages of 24 and 35, playing in highly competitive leagues. Organized pickleball now includes the eight-team Canada National Pickleball League launched in 2023, a league in which Edmonton’s Jorge Quintero competes.

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Quintero picked up the sport in 2017, which is a mash-up of badminton, tennis and ping-pong, when injuries from competing in pro-level squash forced him to seek a gentler activity. He rose through the ranks in short order and was eventually crowned Canada’s 2022 Pickleball Champion. The Edmonton resident is also a pickleball coach and instructor and sells equipment through his online store, Churco Pickleball.

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He says the sport has grown in popularity because it’s inclusive and easy to learn.

“Even with someone older playing with someone younger, you can still have a fairly good game. Men and woman can play together well. It’s also very social because it’s one of the only sports where you can play for four or five hours and still want to keep going,” he says.

The beginner can usually pick up the game within 30 minutes, enabling them to enjoy playing with a partner very quickly.

Pickleball courts are 20 feet wide and 44 feet long. Indoor games are generally played on a hardwood court, like a badminton or volleyball court, but with different boundaries. Outdoors, the game can be played on a simple concrete pad painted with the appropriate boundary lines. The type of ball used depends on the surface. Indoor balls are lighter with larger holes to slow the play down. Outdoor balls are harder and heavier.

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Quintero will host a pickleball feature called Paddle Paradise at the 2024 Calgary Home and Garden Show, running Feb. 22 to 25 at the BMO Centre. A temporary 880-square-foot pickleball court will be installed on the show floor by Total Sport Solutions of Oakville, Ont. Among the many playing surfaces that Total Sport provides, which includes everything from multi-sport gymnasiums to backyard hockey rinks and basketball courts, are residential pickleball courts. President Ian Lintott says Total Sport is fielding more inquiries about how to build a backyard pickleball court every day, with homeowners wanting to know how much space they need and how much it will cost.

“You need a space that’s approximately 30 feet by 60 feet and a hard surface such as concrete or asphalt,” he says. The suggested dimensions are for a regulation court, but a homeowner can always opt for a slightly smaller, non-regulation size court if space is limited.

The surface itself is 2.5 mm thick and is adhered to a vinyl backing and is best installed by a very skilled DIYer or a professional contractor. The retail cost is about $12,800.

Quintero will be conducting beginner lessons on the Paddle Paradise pickleball court during the Calgary Home and Garden Show. Those interested in booking a session can sign up on the show website.

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