The little racquet sport that keeps on growing.
I keep hearing about Pickleball – new courts, new people playing in new parts of the country. I am told that it is one of the fastest growing sports in America. It is played outside or inside on a what looks like a small tennis court. It combines elements of ping pong, tennis and badminton. Mostly it is fun and easy to learn so anyone can play. There are two or four players on the small, badminton sized court (20’ x 44’), so there can be lots of chat and banter. Most people play doubles.
Pickleball has grown quickly in the sunbelt from California, to Arizona and Florida. It is popular in ‘senior’ communities because it is outdoor fun with less running than tennis and a lighter racquet and ball. You get exercise but don’t get hurt. Golf clubs are adding pickleball courts as are community centers and even some tennis clubs. Golfers are finding it easy to learn and immediately fun to play – two experiences not found in golf. It is reported that there are over 2.8 million people playing pickleball.
Photo from www.pickleball.com
Pickleball began in 1965 in the Pacific Northwest on Bainbridge Island, when Congressman Joel Pritchard and businessman Bill Bell came home from golf and wanted to make some fun for their families. They scavenged a badminton net, a perforated plastic ‘whiffle’ ball, ping pong paddles – and created a new sport. Pickleball caught on in Seattle where the small court fit into urban yards and the mild weather allowed year-round play. The game rewards agility, balance, quick reflexes and eye-hand coordination – but almost anybody can play.
Click here to get a short video explanation of the rules of pickleball.
To find a place to play Pickleball near you, the US Pickleball Association has a website where you can type in your zip code and find courts near you. Places to play Pickleball.
As Pickleball developed, the paddles got bigger than their table tennis predecessors. They are 8” wide with a total height of 15 ¾”. The can be made of wood or polymer. They have a lightly textured face much like ping pong paddles. The one in the photo weighs 8 ounces and costs $89. Amazon’s favorite paddle is $39.99.
You can wear whatever you like on a pickleball court, but you’ll want court shoes/tennis shoes so that you don’t slip.
Want to try? This complete pickleball set includes a net, pole, base which fills with water or sand to hold the poles, four paddles and three balls. If you get hooked, this won’t be your final court, but it might be fun to try. Complete Pickle Ball Set. $48.42 Note: I haven’t tried this court.
If you have eager athletes who like to have fun, this is an outdoor pickleball court made of interlocking polypropylene tiles. $4,295 and free shipping.