Mt. Airy School Scores an Ace Thanks To PPA Tours' Pickleball Clinic with Pros
Mt. Airy School students joined the pickleball craze with a special clinic from the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) Tour, as CPS Athletics commits to providing new, innovative programming for students.
Fourth-grader Stephen Leighton enjoyed himself and was inspired to play alongside the pickleball pros. It was his first time playing, and he already has professional aspirations of his own.
Leighton was among the 50 Mt. Airy fourth-grade students who participated in the clinic, learning everything from the fundamentals of scoring and strategy to techniques serving and volleying the ball.
“I remember as a kid I always wanted to be around the pros and learn from them,” French pickleball athlete Jay Devilliers said. “It’s great to give back to the community. There are future pickleball stars on the court.”
The pros were in town for the Baird Wealth Management Cincinnati Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Devilliers was joined by fellow Tour pros Mary Brascia and Collin Shick to teach students the game.
PPA Tour sponsors ONIX Pickleball and FILA provided and donated 60 balls and paddles, nets and t-shirts. Mt. Airy staff and students were also invited to the professional tournament with courtside tickets.
CPS Athletics Manager Josh Hardin says the clinic is the start of a growing relationship.
“It’s been cool to see our kids learn the sport from these professionals and be excited about something new,” Hardin said. “The opportunities are endless, and we know that this sport will grow within Cincinnati Public Schools in the same way that it’s growing across the country.”
CPS will pilot an afterschool pickleball league in several elementary schools in Spring 2024.