One of America’s fastest growing sports has caught on in our beautiful mountain communities.
The game involves a court and a net, but it’s not tennis or badminton, it’s “Pickleball”.
Pickleball is played with a whiffle ball on a court with a tennis sized net. A non-volley zone (or kitchen) prevents volleys close to the net, and the serving team cannot volley the return of serve.
These unique rules favor players with less mobility and allow senior players to compete successfully with younger competitors. The paddle is similar to a ping pong paddle in that it is solid and easily maneuverable with a turn of the wrist. The game itself is played on a court that is the same size as a badminton court
Pickleball is enjoyed by people of all ages and athletic abilities thanks to its ease of play and straightforward rules. The game has become particularly popular among people in their 50s, 60s and 70s looking for an activity that offers good aerobic exercise without being as strenuous as traditional racket sports— and which affords players the chance to socialize during the game. Many teams also play both doubles and singles, as doubles involve longer rallies, lower physical demands and more opportunities for court banter.
Pickleball was first invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington near Seattle at the home of former U.S. Congressman Joel Pritchard. USAPA was organized in 1984 and by 1990, pickleball was being played in all 50 states. The sport continued to spread as it became increasingly popular in senior athletic events in the early 2000’s.
Some of the Basic Rules of the game include:
– The serve must be underhand and below the waist—and it must be made at least one foot behind the baseline, struck diagonally.
– The serve must land within the opposite diagonal court.
– Only the team serving the ball is able to score points, which take place when the opposite side fails to return the ball or commits other faults, such as hitting the ball out of bounds.
– When the ball is served, the receiving team must let the ball bounce once before hitting it back, as must the serving team when returning it.
– Once the ball has bounced once in each team’s court, it is permitted to volley the ball (i.e., hit it before it bounces).
– Games normally go to 11 points, with the leading team needing to be 2 points ahead to win.
Most local Recreation Centers in our area have Pickleball Courts with groups that meet and play tournaments. For more information on times call Clay County Recreational Center 828-389-0368.