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Monday, November 2, 2015

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a racquet sport designed for all ages of player. Some call it a smaller version of tennis since it is played on a hard tennis court surface with a center net like tennis. But the paddles are shorter and the ball is a wiffleball instead of a compressed fuzzy ball. I prefer to describe the game as ping pong on the ground.

However you depict pickleball, one word that should always be included is "fun". The ball moves slower than other racquet sports and the playing area is about 1/3 the size of a tennis court. These factors allow both the very young and the very old to play. The slower pace also allows players of varying skills and fitness to play with one another. Strategic play is often more valued than athleticism.

Pickleball is good healthy exercise. It includes bursts of energy during relatively short games that typically last about 15-20 minutes. Pickleball can be a game of singles (1 player per side) but is more popularly played as doubles with 2 players per side. With a small court, the amount of running is minimized and does not even vaguely resemble tennis in the effort required.

Pickleball can be played either outdoors or indoors. In the mountains of Western North Carolina, winters can get cold and snow can cover outdoor surfaces. Luckily we have multiple choices available for indoor on gymnasium surfaces.

Photo from 

The way the game is played is difficult to explain in an introductory post. Descriptions of the actual play will be broken down and explained in other posts. For now, a short video called What is Pickleball - How do you Play from the folks at Pickleball Rocks will provide a quick overview.

That short description summarizes the game of pickleball. But I would be remiss if I failed to answer the most frequently asked question about pickleball - how did it get its name?

Pickleball was invented on Bainbridge Island in the Pacific Northwest by a couple of families looking for a new game to play. One of the owners had a pet dog that kept grabbing the ball and hiding in the bushes along the court. The dog's name was Pickles...and thus a dog's name represents the fastest growing sport in America.

Lets' Play Pickleball.

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