I have to admit when I was first invited to play pickleball my mind instantly placed it in an excitement level somewhere between S
To my surprise pickleball is anything but dull, in fact, after my first few matches, I managed to work up a good sweat. That’s the beauty of the sport, you can move at your own pace.
Playing pickleball doesn’t have to involve the intensity of other racquet sports unless you and your partners are so inclined. Almost anyone can step into a novice game of pickleball and have a great time. Of course, there’s always room for those with a highly competitive spirit as well. Championship leagues exist across the nation and are actually becoming spectator events.
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How do I get started playing pickleball?
Pickleball clubs are exploding in popularity so check Facebook to see if your area has a local chapter. You can also track down a court on Places 2 Play Finding enthusiasts is a great way to learn the game, and you’ll have the chance to meet some fun, new people. You can learn the basic pickleball rules in our guide. Browse through it or even print up a copy to take with you.
The 2018 Minto US Open Pickleball Championships ran for 7 days in Naples Florida and welcomed more than 10,000 people. There’s a party atmosphere surrounding pickleball that seems to be contagious, more than 2000 players participated from 47 states and 20 countries. It was as much festival as tournament with live music, beer gardens and plenty of sunshine.
Who Plays Pickleball?
To my relief as a new player, almost anyone can play. This is a great multigenerational sport that we plan to add to our next family reunion. Kids love it and mixed teams can work to set up fair matches.
It’s also become a huge trend with the semi-retired as it’s a bit less rigid than traditional tennis and can be played at almost any pace. Arizona and Florida are becoming meccas for pickleball.
What Gear do I Need to Play Pickleball?
Since I was unsure stepping into the game I was thrilled that a set of paddles and balls are around $75.00 on Amazon. Anyone can pick one up and if you somehow hate it (you won’t) you can send back your equipment. Apparel is also a nice change of pace.
If you and your group are having trouble finding a place to play, know that many people use a tennis court. A pickleball court is smaller in dimension and has a shorter net, but it’s simple to convert. We played our first few matches on tennis courts that had been painted to accommodate both sports. Dropping the center of the net to 34″ brought us to regulation height.
What I Learned During my First Pickleball Outing
As a new player to pickleball, I noticed that I tended to hit the ball short of clearing the net more than a few times. It was frustrating and probably due to the fact that most racquet sports have some bounce to the balls. Remember pickleballs have little bounce and they need a strategic hit to keep them in play.
It’s a sport that was cobbled together by a few vacationing dads looking to entertain their kids. The balls have more of a wiffleball texture than that of a tennis ball. You can learn all about the history of pickleball here. It’s a great story that’s still debated by the creators.
I also learned that a backhand shot in pickleball takes an extra bit of finesse since the balls respond to angle as much as power. My tennis backhand didn’t work well for pickleball. I found myself chasing down rolling balls during my first few games. I also lost points when I forgot to let my opponents serve bounce before returning it, another amateur mistake.
I’ll be sharing my learning experience here in the upcoming months, so check back for tips.