Tennis Center brings on new instructor to serve up pickleball |

Tennis Center brings on new instructor to serve up pickleball

Sean Pummill started teaching pickleball "Drills and Skills " clinics at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs last week.

— The growth of pickleball in Steamboat Springs has resulted in an organization that now includes more than 250 players. It is so popular that the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs added eight new pickle ball courts last summer and recently hired an instructor who looks forward to teaching the game to a new generation of athletes.

“It just happened by accident,” said pickleball instructor Sean Pummill, who was recently added to the staff of professionals teaching at the Tennis Center At Steamboat Springs. “I had just moved to the area and dropped in to play some pickleball. I got to talking to Loretta (Conway) who told me she was looking for someone to give pickleball lessons, and just by chance, I was looking for somewhere to give pickleball lessons.”

A few days later, Conway, who is the Tennis Center’s director of business development and a tennis professional, hired Pummill to start teaching at the facility.

Pummilll is hosting two weekly pickleball “Drills and Skills” sessions on Wednesdays. The first session is offered from 8:30 to 10 a.m. and is aimed at people who have never played the game and beginners. A second session from 10 to 11:30 a.m. will offer more advanced classes for advanced beginners and intermediate players interested in improving their skills.

“The Steamboat Pickleball Association usually offers a ‘never-ever’ clinic once a month,” Conway said. “But we get a lot of locals and visitors who come in and ask if we offer clinics or lessons at other times.”

Now instead of turning those players away for a full month, pickleball lessons will be offered more frequently.

“We have been trying to be very open and welcoming to pickleball players at the Tennis Center,” Conway said. “ In the past, Carol Baily — a longtime tennis professional at the Tennis Center, who has helped promote pickleball in the Yampa Valley) had offered lessons from time-to-time. But she really didn’t want to do it all the time.”

Pummill, who is a former racquetball player, has taught the game of pickleball and wants to do it on a regular basis. He plans to start with the clinics but believes the growth of the sport in Steamboat could keep him busy.

Conway said the Tennis Center is thrilled to have a pickleball specialist on staff.

“We are very pleased to have an official pickleball instructor at the Tennis Center,“ Conway said.

The weekly “Drills and Skills” clinics will focus on the basics of the game, including the rules and skills players need to be successful playing the game.

The cost is $20 per session, and Pummill said anyone interested should call the Tennis Center at 970-879-8400 to make reservations in advance.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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