Pickleball with Roger BelAir - Rancho La Puerta
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Pickleball with Roger BelAir

Week of December 7, 2024

If you haven’t heard of pickleball, you soon will. It’s the fastest growing sport in America. The game is easy to learn, great exercise, and incredibly fun. It’s especially popular with active people over forty since it’s easy on the joints. Many people expect pickleball to be the premier participation sport of the future.

Pickleball is a combination of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton. It’s often called “Ping pong on steroids.”  The game was created near Seattle when kids going out to play badminton couldn’t find the birdies. However, they did find the net, a wiffle ball, and some ping pong paddles. A new game was born. In one 45-minute session you’ll learn the basics of the game, get exercise, and—most importantly—have fun!

Inspired by a CBS’s “60 Minutes” segment on crime, Roger envisioned pickleball as a means of teaching “life skills” in prisons.“96% of all inmates are eventually released. If we can make them better while they are on the inside, it’s safer for all of us once they are back on the outside. Today’s inmate is tomorrow’s neighbor.” he says.


Roger BelAir introduced the game to men charged with murder at Chicago’s Cook County Jail. “There is a magical quality about the game,” he says. “We learned gang members who wouldn’t even talk to each other, would be willing to play pickleball together. Soon they were laughing together.”

His successful program in Chicago led Roger to teaching at prisons from coast to coast, from Rikers Island in New York to Corcoran in California where Charles Manson served time.  His life-changing effort have been applauded in the media from NPR to a front page story in USA TODAY.

Off the court, Roger is a financial expert who has been profiled in a cover story of Money magazine; an acclaimed author of books on finance and investments; and a keynoter at business conventions. He’s been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and many other publications.

He knows finance, but pickleball is his passion.