Pickleball: The hottest game in town

Fast, fun and easy to learn

Chances are you’ve heard about pickleball, the paddle and ball sport, that’s popular in communities throughout the U.S., Canada and internationally. Recently there’s been a lot of media coverage about pickleball, and courts have sprung up in neighborhoods and parks. But what makes it such a huge sensation?

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History lesson

Pickleball was started in 1965 on an island off the coast of Seattle by three dads to keep their kids busy. Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell figured out a court, decided on a net height and re-purposed some ping pong equipment and a plastic ball. With a goal of a game that the whole family could play and enjoy, and a friend Barney McCallum, they fashioned rules using badminton to guide them and started the phenomenon we know today.

The first permanent pickleball court was built in Pritchard’s neighbor’s backyard in 1967 and in 1972, a corporation was formed to protect the creation of the sport. Just four years later, the first pickleball tournament was held in Tukwila, Washington.

The basics of pickleball

The beauty of pickleball is that it can be played indoor or outside, by two or four people and is enjoyed by all skill levels. The size of the court is the same as a badminton court and the net is shorter than a tennis net.

There are two sides to the court, and it has both a base line, sidelines, a center line and a non-volley zone. If you’ve never seen pickleball played, think of it as a combination of ping pong, tennis and badminton.

Players need a paddle and a ball to play. Players stand on opposite sides of the court and the first team starts with a serve. Unlike tennis, the serve and the return of a serve must bounce. As play continues, a team can volley the ball until there is a fault such as missing the court or hitting the net.

What makes pickleball different from other sports is the no-volley zone, sometimes known as “the kitchen.” This 14-ft. space in the middle of the court is bisected by the net. No volleys are allowed in the kitchen. Points are only scored on a serve and each game is played to 11 points. The winner must win by two points.

Benefits of pickleball

One group that especially enjoys pickleball is seniors. Because it’s a smaller court with less running and can be played as doubles, it makes an excellent sport for those who are older in age.

Pickleball can add some health benefits to older players through exercise, possibly lowering blood pressure and even helping with heart disease. Moving around the court can maintain your range of motion and can help minimize arthritis symptoms. It also encourages social interaction and allows players to meet new people, which can counteract loneliness or depression.

Pickleball is also good for your mind. There’s a bit of strategy involved as with most games and swinging the paddle to connect with the ball can sharpen or maintain your hand-eye coordination.

Pickleball is also relatively inexpensive, so it’s easy to start. You just need some comfortable clothes, some sneakers or tennis shoes, and a paddle and ball. Basic wooden paddles cost under $15 and if you want a bargain, you can even look for secondhand equipment.

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About the Author: WayForth

WayForth is the definitive provider of comprehensive and personalized moving solutions for life and business. Since 2016, WayForth has led the way in move management, providing solutions to over 15,000 individuals and families. How you move matters and no matter the destination, WayForth serves as a guide making life’s transitions easier to navigate. Call 1.844.WAYFORTH today to learn how we can help with your next move!
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