What is Pickleball?

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Why are 2,000,000 Americans playing pickleball? That is the question I asked myself every time I rode past the tennis and pickleball courts in my new home development at Arbor Creek at Southport, North Carolina. The first few months I had been too busy unpacking boxes to join in the fun, but a friend (who plays twice a week) said,”Joe, you may love the game because you already love tennis, racquetball, and ping-pong.”
The game is a combo of four activities. The paddle, made from graphite or wood, is larger than a ping-pong paddle, and shorter that a racquetball racquet. It is lighter than a badminton racquet.
The court is rectangular, 20 feet wide, and 44 feet long. The”kitchen” is seven 7 feet long starting from the net and twenty feet wide. The kitchen is a security where you can’t slam the ball in someone’s face. If the ball lands in the kitchen, you have to let the ball bounce once to keep the volley going. Save face, pickleball. (Pun intended.)
The official pickleball court is a rectangle with dimensions equal to 20 feet wide by 44 feet long (inclusive of lines) for both singles and doubles. The non-volley line is the line on each side of the internet between the sidelines and parallel to the net. These lines are located 7 feet from the net.
You must serve the ball past the kitchen and property in the bounds of the rectangle to continue play. The machine only gets one function if the ball goes out of play. Then the second player on the same team serves. You can not score unless you’ve got the serve. We play 7 or 11 points win, and you have to win by two points.
Wiffle balls come in four color from yellow to white. The lightweight paddles permit you to set spins on the plastic ball by slicing at it. The ball bounces reasonably high, and it can’t be hit on a fly the first time it is served during a round of play. A word of warning: don’t back-pedal for a ball hit high over your head. Turn around quickly, dash into the ball with short steps, and hit it, or just let it fall in. No hit ball is ever worth crashing on green-colored asphalt. I have crashed 5 times on the floor before I learned to play the ball safer, and to wear shoes that were right for me. I haven’t fallen in several months, knock flake-board.
The beauty of pickleball is not that it is called”pickleball” and supposedly named after a dog called”Pickle.” According to legend, Congressman Joel Pritchard invented the game in 1965 on Bainbridge Island just to keep the kids busy on a summer day. Actually, the dog was named after the game was invented. Now it is the hottest game sweeping across America, played indoors or out by over 2,000,000 players in retirement community centers, physical education classes, and YMCA groups.
Why can it be sweeping the country beyond the fantastic cheer it provides for its members? Many retirees are leaping out of the comfort zone (the living room recliner or porch rocker) to play outside with their neighbors and friends at a challenging game of skills and wits in the sunshine. Do they want to crush their opponents? No. They just need to play their best, listen to the chatter of friends, get a little sunshine, exercise, and an outstanding paddle shot to remember. Is music to the ears of those players.

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