About Pickleball – it’s all about the game and the game is about fun, friends, fitness, competition and personal challenge. There is a movement in the world of sport around a funny sounding game in the name of pickleball that has not been seen for 50 years.
If you don’t know about it yet there is a fair chance that you will want to if those that are introduced to it and get hooked are any guide. It is proving to be more addictive than chocolate!
Pickleball is a fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong and can be played as doubles or singles either indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a slightly modified tennis net. It has been said that Pickleball and Tennis are as complimentary as horse and cart, wine and cheese and movies with popcorn and is the most fun you can have with a paddle in your hand and a friend or handful of friends.
Who would have thought that such a great game is played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes in it like a whiffel ball.
Invented some 50 years ago, it originally grew in popularity in the older generation because it was both easy to play and did not require a high fitness level or great mobility to play and have fun. Strategy is as much part of the game as is mobility and fitness. Today, pickleball is attracting players in junior school and old folks homes and at all ages in-between. It is rapidly becoming a recognized professional sport and this is attracting a new breed of competitor and sporting enthusiasts.
Tennis, racquetball and ping pong players love the competitive nature of the sport and this has caused an explosion of new court construction throughout the United States. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) 2016 Participant Report, there are more than 2.5 million pickleball participants in the United States.
One of the great things about Pickleball is that it is truly a game for all ages. While tennis players find it easy to pick up, anyone who has ever held a bat and ball in their hands will find Pickleball really is a piece of cake to at first have fun playing and to then quickly get competitive at. The sky is the limit for those who wish to get really good at this great game.
A pickleball court is less than half the size of a tennis court and in fact is the same size as a doubles badminton court and measures 20×44 feet. The net height is 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches in the middle. The court is lined similar to a tennis court with right and left service courts and a 7-foot non-volley zone in front of the net (commonly and affectionately referred to as the “kitchen”). The same court is used for both singles and doubles play.
A player will need a pickleball paddle, which is slightly smaller than the head of a tennis racquet with a hand sized grip similar to a ping-pong paddle but with the hand dimensions of a tennis racquet.
The first paddles were home made from wood, however today’s paddles like the tennis racquet revolution have evolved dramatically and are primarily made of lightweight composite materials, including aluminum and graphite.
The hollow ball, about the size of a tennis ball is quite unique, with holes in it like a whiffle ball. Different ball models, sizes and composites are intended for indoor and outdoor play.
Balls are now available in
all the colors of the rainbow however must be a single whole color when used in
tournament play to meet International Federation of Pickleball (IFP)
The IFP govern specifications for both balls and paddles used in competition.
Players also need a net similar to that used in tennis and of course appropriate footwear and clothing. Footwear is a typical comfortable commercial sneaker and recommended clothing is simply sportswear with little official restrictions.
Players in the USA, the place of exploding growth are spoilt for places to play with some 4500 locations listed on the official pickleball website offering more than 15000 indoor and outdoor courts.
The game has grown to be so popular that pickleball tours are now a normal thing for many players to enjoy both in the home of pickleball – the USA and an increasing number of overseas locations now being available with its growing popularity around the world. Some of those locations being Canada, India, Spain, Finland, France, Belgium, New Zealand, Australia (my home country) and Thailand – my new holiday home. (Knowing more about pickleball can really take you places!
If you want to know more about pickleball then get involved, pick up a paddle, challenge yourself and have some fun.
Just of note: A Pickleball video is the best way to explain the pickleball game, the phenomenon that gets people hooked. Try it once and you risk having withdrawals. There is just something about this game and it is way better than chocolate.
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