The Opelika Pickleball Club offers team building exercises for groups in the community teaching how to play the sport and giving groups the opportunity to bond.
Pickleball Club president Jim Young said he wanted to give back to the community beyond just donating money.
Young said the club had held team building exercises for a few other groups in the past and wanted to let the community know that they offered it to any group, from churches to businesses to individuals. families and more.
Recently, the management team of Pharmavite, a vitamin manufacturing company in Opelika, decided to accept the opportunity to use pickleball as part of their team building exercise. The team is made up of heads of departments within the company.
Pharmavite site manager Solanda Prather said she thought it would be something fun to do after the group had taken care of some off-site business.
“I think teams absolutely grow when they’re having fun, so it certainly provided that,” Prather said. “We also had to work together to get instructions. There is already a level of competition in our team, so it only increased that because we were all trying to win.
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Although the company has sponsored a pickleball tournament in the past, Prather said she believes this is the first time anyone has actually played the sport. After the training, several members bought their own paddles and plan to return with their families.
“For me, I thought it was fantastic,” Prather said. “It’s great fun, it’s easy to learn, I really enjoyed it and will be back with my kids too.”
The group received an orientation on the rules of pickleball and then faced off on the pickleball court.
“Most of the time, people who work in these companies don’t have time to interact too socially,” Young said. “Pickleball is not just a sport of winning and losing, but it’s more of a social environment where people can talk to each other on the net with their partners and then you switch places. So you always change partners, you change teams and it just helps you get to know your colleagues better.
Young said he read an article describing pickleball as “ping pong on steroids” and that he liked to play on the ping pong table rather than behind the table. The sport has also been compared to tennis and badminton.
Players stand in a 22-foot-wide court, which is much smaller than a tennis court. Young said this allows players to communicate more and be more dependent on their partner, as they need to be in position with each other at all times.
“It’s more about being addictive and knowing how your partner is going to react and how they expect you to react based on certain situations in a fun environment,” Young said.
Any group that would like to schedule a team building exercise can contact the Opelika Sportsplex at 334-705-5560, go to the sportsplex website opelika-al.gov/391/Opelika-Sportsplex-Aquatics-Center or go to the Pickleball Club website opelikapickleball.com.