Pickleball is the fastest growing racquet sport in the US. It is getting introduced in England. But what is it…?
In its simplest form, pickleball combines table-tennis, tennis, and badminton to create a challenging and entertaining sport.
In 1965, three dads, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum from Bainbridge Island in the US, invented the game to keep their bored children active during the summer. Players can enjoy the game indoors or outdoors on a doubles badminton-sized court and a slightly modified tennis net. Between two and four people can play by using solid wooden paddles to hit a perforated polymer ball over a net.
WHAT MAKES THE SPORT UNIQUE?
Several elements make pickleball an intriguing and absorbing sport. Despite being like tennis, it offers a few essential differences that makes it easy to learn and accessible to people of different age.
Players compete in closer proximity with less running than usual tennis. Since pickleball has less physical strain on the body, it has grown rapidly in popularity. Children and seniors can enjoy the game at competitive levels.
However, if you think this is simply a smaller tennis or badminton version with the same speed and tempo, think again.
The unique difference about pickleball is the speed of the ball. A pickleball court is less than a third of a tennis court area, and game inventors have adapted the ball size to suit the game. A pickleball ball travels at about a third of the average speed of a tennis ball.
IS IT A DIFFICULT TRANSITION FROM TENNIS, TABLE-TENNIS, OR BADMINTON?
One of the main reasons for pickleball’s rapid growth in popularity because it is very easy to learn. The tighter court area combined with the slower ball speed makes pickleball easier to play than tennis.
Unlike tennis, the game also requires an underhand serve, so the game is allowed to flow in an easier but strategic fashion. Alongside the change in rules, the sport is also far more accessible due to its lack of specialty equipment. Players use the paddle and ball and prefer simple tennis clothing.
IS PICKLEBALL AVAILABLE NEAR YOU?
Like many sports, pickleball has suffered this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Clubs are just starting to reopen since they were closed during lockdown.
The Pickleball 2021 English Open, a tournament for the professional players, may not happen next summer due to COVID-19. However, Bournemouth Pickleball Club is growing as the sport becomes more popular, located at Littledown Leisure Centre in Bournemouth.
Looking for a game that combines strategy, coordination, and accuracy to make a competitive and entertaining match? Pickleball could be your new favourite sport.