The Great Game of Pickleball
A Comprehensive Guide
If you’re looking for a fun, fast-paced, social sport that is easy to pick up and hard to put down, look no further than pickleball.
Originally developed in 1965 by Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell, two dads trying to entertain their bored kids, pickleball has quickly become one of the fastest-growing sports in the country, with millions of players of all ages and skill levels.
What is Pickleball?
Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It is played on a court that is a fraction of the size of a traditional tennis court, with a net that is lower than in tennis or badminton (36 inches high in the middle and 34 inches at the edges).
The ball used in pickleball is a lightweight, perforated plastic ball, similar in size to a wiffle ball, that is designed to be hit with a paddle. Players play either singles or doubles and the objective is to hit the ball over the net and into the opponent’s court without the opposing player or team being able to return the ball effectively.
How to Play Pickleball
Playing pickleball is simple and easy to pick up. The rules are similar to tennis, but with some key differences. The serving player stands behind the baseline, and hits the ball diagonally over the net to start the game.
The ball must land within the opponent’s court and bounce once before being returned by the opponent who is standing across the net. Once the ball is in play, both players can hit the ball back and forth, with the aim of hitting the ball in such a way that it bounces twice on the opponent’s court, or that the opposing player misses their return.
The game continues until one of the players reaches 11 points, with a minimum lead of two points. Players switch sides of the court after each point.
One of the most attractive things about pickleball is that it is an inexpensive sport to play. All you need to get started is a pickleball paddle, a net, and some pickleballs. Paddles used in pickleball are smaller than a tennis racket, but bigger than a ping pong paddle.
They typically weigh between 6 and 11 ounces and are made of materials such as fiberglass, graphite, or composite. The amount of paddle power and control will vary depending on which kind of paddle you are using, and which is right for you will depend on your play style and preferences.
Pickleballs are lightweight plastic balls with dimples on the surface, much like a wiffle ball. They come in a variety of colors, and there are some different models available for indoor or outdoor play.
Benefits of Playing Pickleball
The combination of fun, socializing, and exercise makes pickleball a popular choice for people of all ages and backgrounds. It’s a sport that can be played indoors or outdoors on any smooth surface that is the correct size, making it accessible for those who don’t have access to a large space or who want to avoid inclement weather.
And because it is not as physically demanding as tennis or basketball, it is attractive to older individuals looking to stay active.
Pickleball also offers numerous health benefits. Like other forms of exercise, it increases your heart rate and benefits your cardiovascular system. It also develops your endurance, balance, and agility with its quick movements and changes of direction, enhancing flexibility, and improves hand-eye coordination.
Because pickleball can be played in doubles, it also increases socialization and comes with the benefits of playing on a team - developing teamwork, leadership, and communication skills. Furthermore, it is an effective stress reliever and allows you to decompress from daily stressors more effectively.
Pickleball Goes Social
One of the aspects that make pickleball an almost addictive choice is the social aspect of the game. It is a sport perfect for people who want to meet new friends, develop relationships, and engage in the community.
The USAPA, United States of America Pickleball Association, is the recognized governing body for pickleball in the United States, supporting more than 40,000 members and a growing network of more than 2,000 ambassadors, instructors, referees, and coaches.
The USAPA holds and sanctions thousands of tournaments and events every year, and it is also working to make pickleball an inclusive sport that can be played at all skill levels by all kinds of people. Leagues and clubs are being formed all over the country, and they are as available for beginners just starting to learn as they are for seasoned players.
Pickleball is a fun, fast-paced, and social sport that is growing in popularity every year. It’s simple rules, inexpensive equipment.