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Pickleball Serving Up Lots of Fun

I By Sally A. Perkins

If you don’t know what pickleball is you are missing out on the fastest-growing sport among older adults across the country.

Pickleball is a combination of tennis, badminton and Ping-Pong. This is a sport that all ages, children to ninety year olds, can play. The court is 20 feet wide and 44 feet long, same as a doubles badminton court, so is a perfect sport for any age. The net is 36 inches high on each end and 34 inches in the middle.

Since the court is shorter and not as wide as a tennis court, there is a lot less running. The sport is played with a paddle that looks like a Ping-Pong paddle, only wider, and a wiffle ball. You can only get a point if you are the serving team, and each partner serves before the other team serves.

The game is played to 11 points (must win by two) in doubles and lasts anywhere from 10-25 minutes. The area closest to the net is a no volley zone so you must let the ball bounce in that area.

To begin a doubles match you can flip a coin or spin the paddle to determine which team serves.

The person starting serves underhanded from the right side of the court and is called the initial server. If the server wins the point she/he moves to the ad side and serves again. If she/he loses the point her/his partner serves from where he/she is. The score would

10 • July 2014 •

be 1-0-second server. This method of announcing the score informs the opponents that she/he is the second server of the pair.

If this server loses the point the serve goes to the opponents and the initial server serves from the right side of the court. Are your thoroughly confused? If you are that’s OK! This game is easier to understand while learning as you go, as opposed to reading the rules.

There are more than 2,000 pickleball players in the United States and pickleball courts in all 50 states. Pickleball was first played on Bainbridge Island in the state of Washington. The sport is named after a dog by the name of Pickles who would chase the ball and run away with it. Pickleball can be a recreational/social game or a competitive game.

Both CBS and NBC have shown segments on pickleball and the increased interest across the country. Savannah Lakes Village has approximately 60 people that have expressed an interest in playing pickleball. The Recreation Center has eighty rackets and wiffle balls that can be checked out to use. The hard courts are open for use every day and can be scheduled by calling the receptionist at the Recreation Center or going online to the Savannah Lakes website and requesting a court. Pickleball is a fun sport that anyone can play. You can learn more about pickleball and watch videos at the website. 

Sally A. Perkins is a Certified Athletic Trainer licensed in South Carolina. She has taught courses in gerontology, anatomy, physiology, health, medical and orthopedic conditions, fitness and strength training. She has worked with athletic teams and physically active people of all ages in the area of athletic training and sports medicine.

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