Pickleball Courts Added to All Secondary LBUSD Schools
Students at secondary schools throughout the Long Beach Unified School may soon take up America’s fastest-growing sport: pickleball.
New striping for outdoor courts underway at Tincher Preparatory Academy (K-8), Washington Middle School and Rogers Middle School will cap the installation of pickleball courts at all middle, K-8 and high schools in the District.
Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. Players assemble on a court roughly a quarter of the size used for tennis and serve and return a whiffle-like ball over a slightly lower net. Pickleball saw an unexpected boom in 2020 when COVID-19 called for socially distant outdoor activities. Beginner-friendly basics, low cost equipment and socializing on the sport’s diminutive courts have also contributed to pickleball’s rapid rise.
"Pickleball helps students develop several health and skill-related fitness components, such as hand-eye coordination, agility, balance and speed,” said Lisa Ulmer, LBUSD’s secondary sports administrator. “The sport also requires strategy and teamwork to be successful. Most schools have at least 10 courts to maximize student participation and engagement.”
Renovations that enhance student health and fitness are one of 10 priority areas outlined in LBUSD’s 2022 Facility Master Plan. The District’s Measure K and Measure E bonds have funded the installation of all-weather fields at 11 schools to date, and similar fields at 17 additional schools will be completed in the next seven years. LBUSD’s bond measures have also funded the ground-up construction of Cabrillo High School’s aquatics center, Sato Academy’s physical education building and gym renovations at several District schools.
Construction of new aquatics centers at Wilson and Lakewood high schools will begin this summer, and Hamilton Middle School’s new gym is anticipated to break ground in January 2024. Measure Q, LBUSD’s new voter-approved bond measure, will bring additional athletic facility upgrades to District schools.