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Pickleball Has Arrived at WillowWood

by Adam Harper

WillowWood Students from Meredith’s high school gym classes along with our Grade 7 and 8 Students had the opportunity to experience a new sport on September 29th – a sport that is growing in popularity and one which you will certainly see on a court near you soon! Workshop-style demonstrations were led by certified Coach and member of the Ontario Pickleball Association Mark Gottfried, who has toured schools across North America sharing the game of Pickleball with people of all ages.

Our one-day workshop was celebrated by students as a fun way to try something new and spectators noted that students of all ability levels seemed to grasp the sport and enjoy their time playing it!

The rise in pickleball both here at WillowWood and outside in communities across the country tracks alongside a boom in ‘alternative sports’ which are meant to offer athletic opportunities to a wider range of participants than traditional team-based sports. Indeed, the spread of pickleball has reached the pro level with leagues such as Major League Pickleball and the Professional Pickleball Association Pro Tour finding a true fanbase while offering 6- and 7-digit prizes to competitors. So widespread is the game that sporting icons Lebron James, Draymond Green, and Drew Brees have recently partnered together to purchase an expansion team for the upcoming pickleball season. Here's hoping one or more of our Warriors may grace a professional pickleball court in the future!

What’s next you may ask? Starting in Spring 2023, all gym classes will have access to newly purchased WillowWood pickleball equipment funded by the Athletic Department. Additionally, Adam will be running an Intramural Pickleball League where students will compete as singles or doubles against their peers in a fun and relaxed environment. Stay tuned for more info and further WillowWood sporting updates!

Check out some of the pickleball action shots at


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