Pickle what? I know. I said the same thing.
I’ve always enjoyed racquet sports. I learned badminton as a child. Loved it and became VERY good even if I say so myself. I progressed to tennis and actually bought my first tennis racquet with green stamps that my parents let me collect. Now, THAT takes you back doesn’t it? Lol Any kid reading this now is saying “WHAT?!?!”
Tennis can be trying. Well, at least for me. I’m just under 5’ and my ex is 6’2”. Oh, I got a workout and I’m sure we were a entertaining to those watching. However, I always thought the whole thing took some upper body strength which I don’t have. I still play (with a kids racquet) periodically but not often.
However, I saw a new game that folks were playing that looked like a combo of badminton and tennis, I was intrigued. Pickleball is played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes. It looks like a wiffle ball. It’s actually a combination of badminton, tennis and ping pong. The paddle is larger than a ping pong paddle and pretty light. Of course, the balls are very light.
In the photo is my bag and paddle. Note: Do not choose red. If you want to match, it’s really hard to find a red sports bra. Just sayin’. LOL. I purchased my stuff from: http://www.pickleballcentral.com/ because they had better prices than my local sporting goods store.
It can be played indoors or out although the outdoor balls are a little more durable since they are consistently hitting concrete. As with the other games, it, can be played single or doubles. Doubles does seem to be the most common. Personally, I LIKE doubles but I’m not used to it and have a tendency to hog the court.
So, how did this all come about? It was invented back in 1965, on Bainbridge Island (not far from Seattle, Washington). Supposedly three dads – Joes Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum created it to entertain their kids in the summer.
No pickles are used in the game and it seems like a very odd name. I was originally taught that it was named after Pritchard’s cocker spaniel named Pickles. He would chase the ball and run off with it and hide in the bushes.
Later I heard that Pritchard’s wife started calling it pickleball because the combination of different sports reminded her of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats. Which story is correct, I don’t know. I kind of like the dog one myself.
A pickleball court looks like a tennis court pretty much. The net height is also much like tennis rather than badminton. There is a 7 foot non volley zone in front of the net. It is referred to as the “kitchen” . I’m not sure where that term came from but I try to avoid it as much as I do my real kitchen. Volleying is prohibited within this “kitchen” to avoid spiking (unlike tennis).
To start the game, the serve must be made underhand (kind of like bowling). Paddle contact with the ball must be below the server’s waist. The serve is initiated behind the baseline (like tennis) and is made diagonally cross court and must land within the opposite diagonal court. After that, you continue to play, serve and score points. Points are scored only by the serving team. Games are normally played to 11 points. Obviously, there are more explicit rules to follow but this gives you a quick overview of the game if it is something you have never heard of.
If you don’t become too competitive, pickleball can be very social and that is good for your mood and depression. It’s pretty low impact so it’s not too bad on your joints. It’s not as hard on you as jogging. I know I have a bad knee and one hip replaced. It certainly will help you burn calories and if you don’t gorge on junk food afterwards, you can lose weight if that is something you’d like to do. I know I sleep better the nights that I play.
It has become quite popular and parks are now building courts specifically for pickleball. I know the retirement communities around me each have their own teams. It is something that can be played by anyone at any age and I am sure it will continue to spread until it is popular everywhere. Who knows – you might be the first to bring it to your area.
Please comment and let me know your thoughts.
Founder of Not Your Mamas Senior