"" Writer's Wanderings: Pickleball?

Monday, May 09, 2016


No doubt about it. We love Pickleball. Pickleball, you ask? Yes, one of the fastest growing sports among the growing senior population. Let me try to explain.

Pickleball is played with rackets that are like oversized table tennis paddles. While it has similarities to badminton, the shuttle cock has been replaced with a "whiffle" ball. It is played on a court that is like a tennis court and its rules are similar to tennis.

Pickleball can be as easy or as active as the players engaged in it. It's appeal to the older generation in that it is not as hard on the joints as some sports can be since there is less area to run in. But don't let that fool you. What may seem simple to some becomes a matter of strategy, placement, and response. Eye/hand coordination is intense and quick thinking often wins for those who don't run quite as fast any more.

Another advantage of Pickleball is that it can be played indoors which works for those of us who live in areas that are cold and snowy in the winter. A simple portable net and some tape to mark the court's dimensions is all you need.

So where did this all start? In Washington in 1965 at the home of Joel Pritchard. He and a group of friends were trying to get their families interested in badminton and when they couldn't find the shuttle cock, they used a whiffle ball. When that didn't work with the rackets, they made their own from wood. Then decided to lower the net. Pickleball was born. It has evolved quite a bit since then and has gained momentum especially in retirement communities like those found in Florida. But why the name, Pickleball?

According to Joan Pritchard the name came from her saying it reminded her of the pickle boats, the term given to boats with a crew that were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.

While Paddle Tennis is similar in nature, Pickleball has caught on much more rapidly. It certainly has the two of us hooked.

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