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New leadership leads to pickleball growth at the Sarah Vande Berg Tennis Center

Shane Frenchko and Matt Hinnant are co-directors of SVB Pickleball.

Shane Frenchko, who in three months has helped increase the number of pickleball players at the Sarah Vande Berg Tennis Center, recently took on a task he relishes — working with newcomers.

Frenchko, co-director with Matt Hinnant of SVB Pickleball, brought a handful of volunteers for introductory sessions at the Wesley Chapel District Park for a Juneteenth event. That came after his group introduced pickleball to people with special needs at Adaptive Sports Day in March.

“It was unreal,” he said. “A lot of the pickleball we do is introductory.”

Frenchko oversees the pickleball programming at SVB and is impressed with the number of players for weeknight sessions. Initially, about a dozen participants came out on a daily basis. That number has since grown to 30-40.

“The experience needs to be fun, especially for first-timers,” he said. “You’re learning without feeling like you’re learning.”

David Tabb, owner of All Florida Pickleball, met Frenchko, a 4.0-4.5 player, in tournaments earlier this year.

“Shane’s a positive guy; energetic,” Tabb said. “He has the right philosophy when it comes to pickleball. He loves to help people.”

While SVB has hosted previous pickleball tourneys, there have been none by the new leaders. Frenchko plans to change that with a series sometime in July.

Photo courtesy of Kim Miller

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