Have you heard of pickleball? Have you played pickleball? If not, consider this new and wildly popular sport as a possible New Year’s Resolution to be active. As a racket-based sport, pickleball is a friendly yet competitive sport that can be enjoyed by all ages. Whether you are a chatty player or a silent competitor, pickleball’s court allows for the interaction level of your choosing. Now, let’s look at some of the sport’s details.
Who, When, Where and What
According to the official pickleball website, usapickleball.org, “pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle Washington, by three Dads – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum – attempting to entertain their kids during the summer.” So what is pickleball? As described on usapickleball.org, “it is a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, which can be played both indoors and outdoors. Players utilize a paddle and a plastic ball and compete either as singles or doubles.” The court is 44 feet long by 20 feet wide and contains specific service areas. The speed of the game depends entirely on the players. The pace can be steady with casual play or dynamic with quick shots from the opposing sides. Pickleball also incorporates unique terminology, specifically a location on the court known as the “kitchen.” This section of the playing field can serve as either friend or foe depending on your strategy of the game. Regardless of your strategy, pickleball can be a fun and social sport.
Where to Play and How
Pickleball is a rapidly growing sport, with usapickleball.org reporting “over 2,300 registered players and a membership group of just over 53,000.” This size translates into nearly 8,500 locations on the USA Pickleball Places2Play map, including sites here in Greensboro, North Carolina. If you are not ready to join the official leagues, Greensboro offers multiple public courts which can be found on greensboro-nc.gov.
The sport now includes professional players and a professional tour. The Professional Pickleball Association tour hosts tournaments across the country and according to their website, ppatour.com, “welcomes all skill levels to come play at our tournaments and play where the Pros play.” Major League Pickleball has attracted the attention of celebrities and other professional athletes. An October 2022 CNBC news article reported, “Tom Brady and Kim Clijsters are Major League Pickleball’s newest team owners. They join other high-profile owners like LeBron James and Drew Brees.”
What to Do
With your new understanding and appreciation for the sport of pickleball, it is time to get outside and learn a new hobby, or maybe become the next superstar. Enjoy!