Chicago- 15th June 2020 – Today, Seymour Rifkind, President of the World Pickleball Federation (WPF) announced that 10.10.20 is World Pickleball Day. A day designed to increase awareness of pickleball and introduce the game to new players, globally.
Pickleball was invented on Bainbridge Island, Washington State, USA in 1965 taking elements of table tennis, badminton and tennis. There are estimated to be over 3.5 million players in the USA and the game has been expanding with play introduced in some 55 countries.
WPF was founded at the end of 2018 to help grow pickleball globally with the end goal of getting the game into the Olympics. WPF now has 18 country federation members and is actively working on expanding its membership.
Seymour Rifkind said “World Pickleball Day is our first initiative giving federations, clubs and players access to a tool-box of materials to promote and manage World Pickleball Day locally. We have a goal to attract 10,000 new players to the game from World Pickleball day. We hope to do that by engaging as many countries as possible to participate at the club and player level and creating 1 million social media engagements.
Every Club in the world is invited to host a taster session to expose new players to the game, promoting the social inclusion and health benefits of the game as well as demonstrating how much fun and how friendly the game is. As World Pickleball Day falls on a Saturday, our tools will reinforce that pickleball is a game for all ages and encourage families to come along to the taster sessions”
“We have designed a logo for the day, that can be used on promotional materials and t-shirts. A full tool-box to support the day is available to ALL via the WPF website: https://www.worldpickleballfederation.org” said Karen Mitchell, one of the Directors at WPF.
Tony Roig, of In2Pickle and IPTPA certified recently published an e-Book ‘Play Pickleball – A Beginners Guide’ and has agreed for it to be available as part of the toolbox for World Pickleball Day. “The Guide is aimed at beginners, so it makes sense to make it available in the tool-box since the goal of World Pickleball Day is to attract new players”
Australia, Brazil, China France and England have already signed up to participate.
“I am thrilled about the World Pickleball Day Initiative” said Josephine Neal of Australia, “being part of a worldwide effort to grow this game, by making a success of it locally is extremely motivating”.
In the USA, Steve Kuhn, owner of Dreamland is going to be supporting World Pickleball Day by live streaming professional player exhibition matches on the day at his soon to open facility in Dripping Springs, Texas. “I love pickleball so much, we have 4 courts at Dreamland along with other family suitable activities. Live streaming matches on World Pickleball Day that can be viewed around the world is exciting.”
Mr. Qingmin Wang, executive director of Global Chinese Pickleball Federation and WPF Director, was introduced to pickleball during a trip to Oregon in 2009, now there are estimated to be over 16,000 players in China. “Just imagine how many new players we could have in 10 years’ time, if all the new players introduced on the first world Pickleball day, introduced 10 new players in year 2 and they introduced 10 new players in year 3, and so on!”
Recognising that Covid-19 has impacted the entire world, the World Pickleball Day Toolbox will have example ideas for grass root clubs that will range from no restrictions to play all the way to full lockdown not allowing for play, to ensure that everyone can participate on 10.10.20.
Asked why 10.10.20 was selected for World Pickleball day, Seymour Rifkind answered “Because every doubles pickleball game starts with the score announced as zero zero 2. Since 10.10.20 includes the score, it seemed the perfect date for our first World Pickleball Day”.