Tournament winners: Left to right: Peter H., Joel D., Ted G., Gunnar C., Maddy W. and Rose G. pose with their new paddles and certificates for membership to USA Pickleball Association after competing in the first Denver Academy Pickleball Tournament.    Photo Credit: Coach Ben Ollett

Denver Academy (DA), an independent school serving diverse learners in grades 1-12, hosted a pickleball tournament for the school’s PE students from February 22, 2021, through March 1, 2021. For more than five years, DA has been teaching pickleball as part of its racquet sports unit in Physical Education (PE) classes. Due to the sport’s popularity among students and the fact that it’s a great physically-distant activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, DA coaches decided to add the element of a tournament this year.

The DA coaching staff put together a round-robin tournament as the finale to the unit which caught the attention of USA Pickleball. The co-ed doubles tournament included DA Middle School students, with prizes from USA Pickleball including branded paddles for the top six players, and the first-place team received an annual individual membership to the organization. In addition, Denver Academy received a Youth Program Provider (YPP) Membership, which gives access to the official youth pickleball playbook, discounts on equipment for the school, free access to the youth pickleball video series, and digital copies of Pickleball Magazine.

“A lot of kids who don’t typically like team sports love pickleball,” said Denver Academy PE Teacher and former USA Olympic Mountain Biking Coach Ben Ollett. “The sport is a great physically-distant a

National Recognition: USA Pickleball found out via social media that Denver Academy was engaging its students in the sport via a tournament and reached out to collaborate. For more information about USA Pickleball, visit

ctivity during this time as we navigate through the pandemic. It has really become a favorite of both teachers and students, so we decided to make the unit more robust this year by adding a tournament at the end.”

USA Pickleball found out via social media that DA was engaging its students in the sport and reached out to collaborate. “USA Pickleball loves seeing the excitement of our youth playing the sport and with Coach Ben’s mutual enthusiasm for being able to teach the students how to play by sharing a Twitter photo, we wanted to learn more about their PE program,” said Director of Media Relations for USA Pickleball Laura Gainor. “We’re grateful for the robust program that Denver Academy is offering their students and their interest in organizing future camp programs and tournaments to allow us to continue being the fastest growing sport in the United States.”



Learn More About Denver Academy

Prospective families are invited to join Denver Academy (DA) for an Admissions Open House. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, DA open houses are currently being held virtually. Families will enjoy a presentation by Head of School Mark Twarogowski. This will be a great opportunity to get an initial understanding of who DA is and what their programs have to offer. Following his presentation, families will have the opportunity for a virtual Q&A session with current Denver Academy students and teachers.

The next virtual open house is set for Saturday, April 10, 9:30-10:30 a.m. RSVP at by April 9 at noon in order to receive the Zoom meeting link.

For questions or information regarding our open houses, please contact the Office of Enrollment Management at