What is Pickleball?

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Why are 2,000,000 Americans playing pickleball? That is the question I asked myself each time I rode past the tennis and pickleball courts in my new housing development at Arbor Creek in Southport, North Carolina. The first few weeks I was too busy unpacking boxes to join in the fun, but a friend (who plays twice a week) said,”Joe, you will 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 bigger than a ping-pong paddle, and shorter that a racquetball racquet. It’s lighter than a badminton racquet. The”kitchen” is seven 7 feet long starting from the web and twenty feet wide. The kitchen is a safety where you cannot slam the ball in someone’s face. If the ball lands in the kitchen, you have to allow 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 internet. These lines are located 7 feet from the internet.
You have to serve the ball beyond the kitchen and land in the bounds of the rectangle to continue play. The machine only gets one function if the ball goes out of play. Then the next player on the same team serves. You can’t score unless you’ve got the serve. We play 7 or 11 points win, and you need to win by two points.
Wiffle balls come in four colour from yellow to white. The lightweight paddles permit you to put spins on the plastic ball by clipping 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 caution: don’t back-pedal for a ball hit over your head. Turn around quickly, dash into the ball with short steps, and hit it, or simply 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 also to wear sneakers which were right for me. I have not fallen in several months, knock flake-board.
The beauty of pickleball is not that it’s 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 outside by over 2,000,000 players in retirement community centers, physical education courses, and YMCA groups.
Why is it sweeping the nation 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 friends and neighbors in a challenging game of abilities and wits in the sunshine. No. They just want to play their best, listen to the chatter of friends, get a little sunshine, exercise, and an outstanding paddle shot to recall.
“Good shot!” Is music to the ears of those players.

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