‘The Baron’ to host pickleball demo at Sea Colony

Coastal Point • File Photo: A pickleballer goes for a backhand during a tournament last summer in Sea Colony.Coastal Point • File Photo: A pickleballer goes for a backhand during a tournament last summer in Sea Colony.The Fitness Center at Sea Colony is helping local pickleball players beat the cold this winter, offering a variety of sessions at their indoor facilities through March.

While the sessions are open to both residents and non-residents of Sea Colony, and to pickleball players of all skill levels, the facility will amp things up with an introductory demo this Wednesday, Jan. 18, hosted by none other than Vaughn “The Baron” Baker of the First State Pickleball Club (FSPC).

“We’re doing this so people can enjoy themselves during the winter,” said Sea Colony Assistant Fitness Manager Michael Pitts, who gave the sport a try himself this winter. “Everyone that has walked by that and seen it going on has jumped in and had a great time. It’s just a lot of fun and it’s a great facility perfect facility for this game.”

Since Dec. 1, Sea Colony has been hosting eight pickleball sessions per week, converting the basketball courts to fully functioning pickleball courts on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for a midday session from 1 to 3:30 p.m. and evening session from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The sessions are open to the public and cost $5 for Sea Colony winter fitness and tennis members and $10 for non-members, with no charge for residents of Sea Colony.

But players don’t have to be affiliated with Sea Colony or the First State Pickleball Club to join in on the action. And, as for the demo put on by Baker, they don’t even have to know how to play.

In fact, that’s kind of the point.

The clinic set for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. will lead into regularly scheduled pickleball sessions, in the hopes of introducing beginning and novice players to the basics of what’s become an increasingly popular sport both locally and across the country.

At the demo, Baker will provide paddles and pickleballs, and go over basic skills and rules of the game.

According to Baker, demo events and partnerships with organizations such as Sea Colony have become increasingly necessary as the FSCP closes in on 500 members after starting out with just 12 members two years ago.

“I don’t know if it’s growing so quickly because it’s so much, a great way to exercise, or way to meet new people now that they have relocated here, but the growth is undeniable,” said Baker, a gold medalist at the Delaware Senior Olympics this past September and long-time advocate of the sport after a career spent in the professional tennis industry.

“The club is growing just as quickly as the fast growing sport of Pickleball,” said FSPC Acting President Kathy Casey. “A great many communities in the area introduced pickleball this past year.”

Since its inception, the club has hosted an annual tournament each spring and has converted the tennis courts at the John M. Clayton School near Dagsboro into its official designated home.

While those familiar with the sport are being encouraged to contact Sea Colony at any time to reserve court time, Baker’s free clinic will be capped at 24 participants, so those interested in signing up are being encouraged to act quickly.

For more information on the First State Pickleball Club, visit www.firststatepickleballclub.org or contact Kathy Casey at (301) 518-3434. To reserve a space for the demo, or to inquire about court time, contact Sea Colony at (302) 539-4511 or sign up at the fitness center.

The Sea Colony Fitness Center is located at 38994 Westway Drive, near Bethany Beach.