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28

Apr, 2021

Intro to Pickleball with Worth duPerier is all about fun

By John Davis  
Community Relations Director 

There was an immediate attraction to the sport of Pickleball for Worth duPerier. As a former tennis player suffering from shoulder pain, Pickleball offered similarities, while also providing valuable exercise benefits. 

For the past four years, duPerier has been engrossed with the Pickleball, a sport that has become very popular in Oxford, and across the nation. He became so hooked on the sport that he not only became a regular player, but he also became certified to instruct Pickleball a year ago.   

There are well over 200 who routinely play Pickleball locally, and duPerier is one of those who is looking to add to the wagon. 

“I played tennis since I was 8 years old and the attraction to Pickleball was instant,” duPerier said adding that the sport is similar to ping pong, badminton and racquetball. “It’s really a combination of a lot of different things. Although it is easier on your body, that’s what is attractive to the seniors; however, I think Pickleball is a quicker, faster game than tennis. The points back-to-back are really quick. You can hit a serve in tennis, it goes out, you got to go walk back, pick it up and then have a double fault. You could have one or two points in Pickleball before you get the first one in tennis.” 

From an exercise standpoint, Pickleball provides that despite the court being cut in half because it is so back and forth.  

“I’ve always told tennis players to come check it out and they’ve told me that Pickleball has helped improve their net game,” duPerier said. “There are a lot of people who are playing both. I could name five or six right now, if not more, who are playing both sports. But Pickleball and tennis are really almost opposite. In tennis, you’re trying to hit more winning shots. In Pickleball, there is more strategy. It’s more of a soft touch. Some of the tennis players actually have a tougher time adapting their strategy in Pickleball. It’s the lack of aggressiveness that you need in Pickleball. It’s more about soft shots and placement. Then more of the power will come into play.” 

The biggest reason duPerier decided to pursue becoming an instructor is to help spread the word, and to pass on the enjoyment to others. 

“Every beginner class that I have had has become addicted. They are now playing on a weekly basis,” said duPerier, who was certified in Atlanta in a two-day USPTA course that featured a number of on and off court sessions. “I’ve probably given about 30 different lessons so far.” 

A big key that duPerier tries to teach his participants is to set up the winning shot through strategy.  

“One of the big things to do is to let your opponent make the mistake. It’s counterintuitive for many players but over time, many players come to the realization that patience is an important aspect of Pickleball ,” duPerier said.  

The Coach Howell Activity Center is the main spot for Pickleball, and duPerier said it was one of the nicest spots in the country to be playing in. His Intro to Pickleball class that begins May 20 will be hosted in the center.  

“We have been playing outside because COVID has put the damper on us some getting inside. We do like outside, but the wind can be a factor sometimes,” he said. “We love indoor, and a lot of people will only play indoors because of the wind and the sun. The indoor surface here is really nice, and it slows the game down a little bit. It’s also a lot less stress on the knees to be playing inside on a surface like this.” 

Future growth of the sport is likely to come from grade-level students, and dePerier has been in talks with the school district to introduce the sport to a new group of faces.  

“I think it will be a great sport for those kids who maybe aren’t on a team,” duPerier said. “So far the youngest I’ve really seen playing is age 18 or 19. So I’ve been in talks with the school districts. We’re looking to start it as a club, and if the high school association in Jackson sanctions it, then it would become a sport. That’s my goal. I want to get as many young people out playing as possible. It’s a great option for those kids who may not have made the tennis team or the football team and looking for an organized sport to play.” 

Registration for the Intro to Pickleball class is currently available at oxfordparkcommission.com. There are only two spots left in the adult class, and so far 2 of the 6 spots for the youth class have been taken. 

 

 

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Oxford Park Commission

396 Price Street 
Oxford, Mississippi 38655

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 662-232-2379

Contact Us

Oxford Park Commission

396 Price Street 
Oxford, Mississippi 38655

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 662-232-2379

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