Pickleball for kids in Schenectady and Clifton Park

Upstate New York Pickleball youth programs.

Sportime Schenectady and Upstate New York Pickleball are launching pickleball lessons for kids.

In my mind, this pickleball craze is not the real deal until we start seeing youth pickleball leagues. A sport has no future if kids aren’t playing it. The Capital Region is a step closer to the real deal with news of these new programs.

Sportime Schenectady, which has a long tradition of youth tennis instruction, is starting pickleball clinics for juniors.

Upstate New York Pickleball, a coaching team led by Gina Family, taught pickleball to students at a Clifton Park elementary school earlier this month and just announced summer programs for kids run through the Clifton Park Recreation department.

This is wonderful news, although it means more players will be competing for the limited available courts. Eh, growing pains.

Youth pickleball was a no-brainer for Sportime.

“We’ve 10-and-Under tennis programs for forever and we have been doing a lot of pickleball with juniors in our summer camp,” said Sarah Sharpe, general manager at Sportime.

Sharpe said kids enjoy it and pick up the game quickly.

The learning curve is easier than tennis, Sharpe said, because the paddle is more maneuverable than a tennis racquet and the reaction time required in pickleball is a little slower. She has also seen kids who start with pickleball transition more easily to tennis.

Upstate New York Pickleball was surprised to see kids showing up with parents at their adult clinics.

Upstate New York Pickleball youth programs.
Upstate New York Pickleball clinic

Kyleen Dye, a coach and director of operations at Upstate, said it is a great sport for kids who don’t consider themselves athletes.

“It’s a way to get active without the pressure of making a baseball team or soccer team,” Dye said.

Kids can play with their parents and grandparents too.

Upstate is also looking at offering after-school youth pickleball at the Southern Saratoga YMCA and summer programs at Impact.

Upstate New York Pickleball Youth Programs

Upstate is registering kids for three-week sessions run through the Clifton Park Recreation Department. Children who live outside Clifton Park can sign up as well.

Session 1 Ages 10-14: Mondays at 12:30pm 07/10/2023–07/24/2023

Session 2 Ages 14-18: Mondays at 12:30pm 08/14/2023–08/28/2023

Here is a link to all of Upstate youth pickleball programs: https://www.upstatenypickleball.com/juniors

Sportime Schenectady youth pickleball programs

Sportime is offering five-week pickleball sessions for juniors.

Tuesday evenings in April for kids age 7 to 10.

Thursday evenings in April for kids 11 and up.

Here is a link to all of Sportime’s pickleball offerings, including the junior programs: https://e-sportimeny.com/p/18SJ-13D0/schenectady-pickleball

Sportime junior clinics