Meet Rick Clendenen. He’s one of the 2023 Senior Planet Sponsored Athletes, and he’ll be sharing updates on his health and wellness journey through the rest of this year. Rick, age 72, has always been an active athlete. After a knee issue took him off the volleyball court, Rick discovered the pickleball court and quickly became not only a fan, but a skilled player and advocate for other older adults to get involved with one of the fastest-growing sports in the country.
Hello Senior Planet! I’m Rick Clendenen and I will be hosting informational sessions and writing about pickleball this year as a Senior Planet Sponsored Athlete. I’m 72 and I grew up in the Midwest, born in Ft. Wayne, IN. I have stayed active in many sports throughout my life — basketball (I am from Indiana!), racquetball, table tennis, and lots of volleyball. I have enjoyed playing in many national volleyball tournaments including the Huntsman World Senior Games.
About two years ago, when a knee issue became a serious detriment to playing volleyball competitively, I needed to reconsider my focus. My wife and I live on Camano Island, Washington, which is one hour north of Seattle. I noticed a two-line ad to “Learn Pickleball” in a small local paper. I tried it, and liked it…a lot!
Camaraderie and Competition
“There is a strong communal aspect to pickleball, as many people play mainly for fun and friendship — while getting good exercise too!”
I really enjoy pickleball because it is very social, and it can be competitive too. There is a great club here on the island, and there are always many opportunities to work on improving. There is a strong communal aspect to pickleball, as many people play mainly for fun and friendship — while getting good exercise too!
Pickleball is played with a paddle and what is basically a “Wiffle ball,” on a fairly small court with a net. There’s not too much running, and there is a wide range of people that enjoy playing. For those that like being competitive, you can take it up many levels both locally and nationally.
I am a member of the Camano Stanwood Pickleball Association, which has grown to 350 members. I manage and teach in the club’s mentoring program, and I lead the Tournament Committee. I am also proud to have been elected to the Board of Directors. The club hosts six main events for both fun and competition each year.
Your Chance to Learn
I hope you’ll join me on Zoom next Wednesday, March 15 at 1:30pm EST for the first of a two-part presentation all about pickleball. I hope to cover the following questions and topics related to the basics of the game:
- How do you find and get involved in pickleball?
- What is needed to participate?
- What are the court lines and rules?
- Suggestions for warm-up and strength
- Playing the game with varied participants
- Good technique for serves and returns
- Keeping score
In part 2, we’ll summarize the basics, and then go into further development of skills. Stay tuned for more details… I truly look forward to sharing the “joy of pickleball” with the Senior Planet network this year!
In need of a little motivation to get moving? Join our daily health and wellness programs, stay tuned to the latest news and articles from SeniorPlanet.org by signing up for The Orbit weekly newsletter, and follow us on social media (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram) to get to know these awe-inspiring athletes. You might just find a new love for fitness along the way!
I missed this presentation! Will there be a recording available? Also, when is Part Two?
Hi Julie, we will be posting a video recording of Rick’s presentation in the coming weeks. You’ll be able to find the video on the Senior Planet YouTube channel, and at seniorplanet.org/athletes. Part 2 will take place on March 29 at 1:30pm EDT. We will be posting the event link soon to our fitness & wellness class calendar!
I’d like to join up with a league / find local games Bethesda area 20814. Tks.
Some info should pop if you Google “pickleball leagues” and your zip code.
You might try the website: playtimescheduler.com
This site is free and will show you pickleball courts and sign up opportunities near you.
There’s an app called “Places2Play”. It will show you where you can find a pickleball court in the area you’re located at any time. Good luck and have fun.
Unfortunately due to a doctor’s appointment, I am going to have to miss your presentation. Would it be possible to record it to view at another time?
Hi Alice, we will be posting a video recording of Rick’s presentation in the coming weeks. You’ll be able to find the video on the Senior Planet YouTube channel, and at seniorplanet.org/athletes.
I love Pickleball and have been playing since 2019. Recently though, players have gotten very competitve and just slam the ball. Those players truly take the joy out of just playing a good game following the rules.
It is growing so fast here in Baltimore County, MD (especially at the Senior Centers) that we now need more courts to play on.
Awesome! Looking forward to Wednesday
Are these sessions recorded?
Hi JoAnn, we will be posting a video recording of Rick’s presentation in the coming weeks. You’ll be able to find the video on the Senior Planet YouTube channel, and at seniorplanet.org/athletes.