Top Pickleball Club
Pickleball is a sport that is growing rapidly in popularity, both in America and at On Top of the World Communities (OTOW). It’s a sport that is accessible to all ages, especially fitting for a 55+ active-adult community. Pickleball allows for an ease of play physically while also still providing a fun challenge. Here at OTOW, there are 29 pickleball courts where people play from sunrise to sunset.
The Top Pickleball Club at OTOW currently has 632 active members, and they constantly have games, tournaments, and events going on. There are multiple committees (including events, social, training, ratings, and equipment committees) and club levels that meet throughout the year. The club president, Barry Barnhart, explained that “[They] have an unbelievable volunteer base” and that they “couldn’t do it without them.” The Top Pickleball Club is involved with multiple outreach programs including the Special Olympics, St. Jude’s, and The ROCK. Barry expressed that “[their] club is proud to be able to say [they] are the only ones that train the special Olympic athletes for the Olympic games.” Along with this, the club also partners with ELEMENT 3, a non-profit group that assists people with special needs, to help members play pickleball and cover the fees of the club.
The Top Pickleball Club at OTOW is very welcoming to newcomers and even offers free classes that can be taken as many times as desired. Barry explains that “if you want to play pickleball, but you don’t really know where to start, our training program is designed to stairstep you.” An orientation class is offered every Saturday at 10:30 am (free class and they supply the paddles). Barry urges residents to “give it a try” and explains that “orientation is a small introduction to how much fun pickleball is.” Pickleball is a fairly inexpensive sport, and the Top Pickleball Club has paddles that can be lent to you while you’re trying it out. The club also has a mentor program that allows for more experienced players to play alongside intermediate players. This mentor program helps players learn through “camaraderie, teamwork, and fun” (Barry Barnhart).
Outside of the game, the club hosts social events monthly and is described as having a family atmosphere. Barry described that “a high percent of the friendships that are developed inside the pickleball courts carry over to the outside” and that “it’s a great network for building friends.” The club has a ‘Dear Abby ’-inspired monthly communication email that is sent out. It’s a creative way for the club to help its members solve issues and give them advice in a lighthearted and helpful manner that incorporates a little humor.
Upcoming events for the club include AED training and clinics hosted by Coach Mo, one of the most famous pickleball coaches in the area, being held in October and November.
For more information or to join the Top Pickleball Club, contact Barry Barnhart at 250-478-2903 or visit their website TopPickleballClub.com.