Who knew that in 1965, in a town only a short ferry ride from Seattle, WA, that three dads desperate for a new game to keep their families entertained would devise a new phenomenon? These three fathers took advantage of an old badminton court, a perforated plastic ball, and they then fabricated some paddles out of plywood. This was the humble beginnings of Pickleball, which is now played by over 400,000 people.
Pickleball can be played by 2, 4 or 8 players. It combines many different elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. You can find a facility to play in every state. In fact, many P.E programs have taken up teaching their middle and high school players how to play pickleball. My daughter even learned how to play pickleball in her sophomore physical education class, her and her friends play it on the weekends.
If you love tennis, racquetball or ping pong then you will love the competitive nature on this sport. Many active players in all three sports love the competitive nature of pickleball. They regularly compete in tournaments.
Pickleball is becoming very popular because people over 50 are wishing to find activities that they can regularly participate in that are fun, competitive and that are more engaging in than just shuffleboard. Pickleball offers the fun of tennis without the high impact injuries. In fact, it has become so popular that several states have added it to their Senior Olympics and it was admitted into the National Senior Games in 2013. It was the first new sport added in 20 years. In fact, this game is so popular many European and Asian countries have started adding courts. There is even a tournament in Spain. Who knows in a few more years we may even see this added as an Olympic event.
The most popular aspect of pickleball is that it appeals to both sides of the field. What that means is that people who have experience in a racket sport pick up the game quickly. However, if someone has never played a racket sport in their life (i.e tennis) they are playing and having a blast with pickleball within the first hour. With tennis, it would take many lessons to be able to play a regular game and start having fun.
Here are some of the top reasons why people find pickleball enjoyable
– You do not have to chase the ball very far
– Rallies last longer normal. Compared to tennis, table tennis or badminton, a 5-second period has many more hits
– The ball won’t be coming at you like a rocket
– Because there are holes in the ball it won’t go as far as fast. This ball is slower because the court in pickleball is smaller than a tennis court. This effect leads to a lot of quick back and forth, which is one of the best parts of pickleball.
– Talk about small courts. The small court makes it easier to laugh, talk and even tease the other players.
– Winning pickleball is more about your patience, strategy and placement and less about your speed, power or strength.
– What this means is that a team of four 80 year women can beat four 40-year-old men. It is all about how you play the game.
So, the next question is when are you going to get your team together and start playing the hottest new game to hit the courts?
Written by Alisa Bashaw