During the COVID pandemic, pickleball certainly soared in popularity. Pickleball was an activity that families could play in driveways or communities could play while still practicing social distancing. One pickleball group that thrived during the pandemic for these very reasons is the Pretty Picklers.
The Pretty Picklers, led by Kerry Shannon (a USA Pickleball Ambassador) and originally based out of New Jersey, is a national women’s pickleball team with over 140 members. The Pretty Picklers have three main principles: (1) having fun; (2) being inclusive and including others; and (3) serving others.
The Pretty Picklers started before the COVID pandemic. It all started with Shannon, who had an unused pickleball court, built by her husband and son, in her backyard. One day after she retired from her career as a teacher, Shannon decided to host an event for her friends, where she brought in someone to teach her and her friends to play. What was supposed to be a day event for 8 people, quickly turned into a week-long event with many more people. At that point, Shannon decided to create a group, with their very own logo, and continue to share the fun and inclusiveness of the sport of pickleball.
The Pretty Picklers is a group of women that have bonded over pickleball, but it is much more than that. First and foremost, they support each other on the pickleball court, which was incredibly important during the pandemic. Some Pretty Picklers even say that it was that group and the sport of pickleball that got them through the pandemic. The Pretty Picklers also support each other outside of the pickleball courts, whether it is a marathon that someone is running, a charitable event that someone organized, or even putting birthday signs up in someone’s yard to bring them joy on their special day.
But, they also play pickleball… a lot of pickleball. The Pretty Picklers are always on the pickleball court. The Pretty Picklers play pickleball, they travel and play tournaments (where they connect with other women Picklers), they bring in various pickleball pros for clinics, they take pickleball vacations together, and they also host events and tournaments (such as the Gobble Gobble Dink Tournament). In connection with these events, the Pretty Picklers pull together their strengths and backgrounds to really make it special (including signs, booths, food, etc.). They also use these events to further their third pillar—serving others—notably, the Diva for a Day Foundation, which gives a day of beauty to women undergoing any kind of cancer treatment.
If you have never seen a Pretty Pickler, they are usually donned in a fashionable on-court outfit, which is usually pink (although, if you do not like pink, then navy is also a Pretty Pickler color) and usually includes a flamingo. Fashion is a passion of Shannon’s and she certainly does her best to help the other Pretty Picklers look good, feel good, and play good. Shannon just led the Pretty Picklers to release their next line of clothing, which is designed to be inclusive for every Pretty Pickler and include Shannon’s favorite article of clothing—the visor (which Shannon highlights that she uses to protect from both the sun and her eyes on the pickleball on the court).
If you happen to come across a Pretty Pickler—particularly, their leader, Kerry Shannon (who will showing her Pretty Pickler pride at the 2021 USA Pickleball National Championships)—don’t be shy. One of their biggest values is to be inclusive and always welcoming. Shannon notes how powerful it is to have teammates and be a part of something bigger than yourself, which is why this value is so important to her personally.
And, if you want to learn more and get involved with the Pretty Picklers (sorry, gentlemen… ladies only!), or if you’d like to create a group like the Pretty Picklers in your state or hometown (for instance, there is already a west coast counterpart for the Pretty Picklers called the Picklin’ Vixens), head over to prettypicklers.com and get in touch with Kerry herself.