Pickleball: A Local Game Becomes Fast-Growing Sport

Tired of tennis?

Not up for another run on the treadmill?

Looking for a new way to get out and be active?

Pickleball could be just the fun and fitness fix you’re looking for.

A mix between tennis, Ping-Pong and badminton, pickleball is a great way for anyone of almost any age and ability to burn some calories, take in some fresh air and, best of all, have some fun.

 

The Game

Created on Bainbridge Island, Washington, in 1965 by three fathers looking to entertain their kids, pickleball has exploded in popularity in recent years and has become one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. People have flocked to it for its low impact, its relative simplicity and its social nature.

Played on an outdoor or indoor court that’s 20 feet wide by 44 feet long, pickleball, like tennis or Ping-Pong, can be played as singles or doubles. Players use small plastic or composite paddles and a perforated plastic ball very similar to a whiffle ball. Gear can be purchased relatively affordably or rented from some athletic establishments.

Games start with a serve, and the ball must bounce off the ground first on the receiving side of the court and then on the serving side before players can volley back and forth. The area seven feet out from the net on both sides of the court is called the no-volley zone or the kitchen. Players can only hit the ball out of the kitchen if it has bounced on the ground first.

According to the official rules from the USA Pickleball Association, points are only scored by the serving team when the opposing team commits a fault. Faults include hitting the ball into the net or out of bounds, volleying in the kitchen or before volleying is permitted or when the wrong team member makes or returns a serve.

Games are played to 11, and the winning team must win by two points.

For those looking for a little introductory instruction, certified pickleball instructors offer lessons through local pickleball clubs, schools and parks programs.

Where to Play

As pickleball has become more popular, courts have sprung up all over the country. In some places, tennis courts have been converted into pickleball courts due to rising demand.

The USAPA has a handy tool for finding pickleball courts in your areas. A few to consider in the Seattle and Spokane areas include:

Seattle: Ballard Discovery Park, Miller Playfield Tennis and Pickleball Courts, Rainier Community Center and Shoreview Park.

Spokane: Comstock Park, North Park Athletic Club, Prairie Sky Park and Prairie View Park.

Image by BHPix

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Jon Bell

Jon Bell writes about the outdoors, fitness, health, and a range of other topics from his home in Lake Oswego, OR. He is also the author of "On Mount Hood: A Biography of Oregon's Perilous Peak."



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