Tuesday, April 21, 2015


pickleball paddle
A couple of years ago I read an article in the local newspaper about pickleball. Touted as the fastest growing sport in America, it looked like it would be fun to play. I have to admit that I was a little turned off when they mentioned that it was a good sport for older people. And then I realized I am an older person, whether I feel that way or not. Pickleball was invented back in 1965 by some men in Bainbridge Island, Washington. One of the men had a badminton court in his backyard, but they couldn't find the rackets to play. Instead they used ping-pong paddles and a perforated plastic ball. The game has elements of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton. You play on a court with a lower net, using an over-sized ping-pong paddle and a whiffle ball. There is some dispute as to whether the game was named after the family dog, Pickles, or whether it was a reference to Pickle Boat, which has a mixed crew. Here is a fun piece that NBC News did on pickleball.

I didn't give the game too much thought until one of our friends began to play it a lot. Earlier this year, my local recreation center offered a pickleball clinic, so I decided to check it out. One of the USPA Pickeball Ambassadors was there to conduct the clinic. Who knew, right? I have to say, I enjoyed learning how to play the game. There are many, many locations throughout St. Louis where you can play pickleball. Our center began offering play on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, which don't work out for me because of my small group weight training. I was delighted when they added Wednesday mornings, as that fits nicely with my schedule. The locations provide all the equipment, so you really don't have to invest in anything until you see if you like it. Most people eventually purchase their own paddles since the ones provided are always wood and not recommended for serious play.

I have now played in Affton and Shrewsbury as well as in Webster Groves, and most of the people are quite nice and not overly competitive. A few of the guys will try to make you eat the ball, but that is the exception rather than the rule. My experience has been that during the day I bring the average age of the room down, but at night I am definitely one of the older people on the court. Depending on how many people show up at any given time to play, you can get a great workout in. I know that I perspire more playing pickleball than I do working out in the gym. I am so happy to have an additional activity to add to my workout schedule so that I don't get bored.

Play ball - pickleball, that is!


Mrs. Wryly said...

One of our former neighbors (who retired and moved to Florida) tipped us off to how popular it is, so I checked into it a while back. It sounds like fun and not boring! I would love to give it a whack, but just can't fit it into my life at this time.

You go, Girl!

Kim Wolterman said...

Would love to whack a ball around with you sometime. It is definitely not boring, and I have met some nice people while exercising. Win-win! Even when I lose - ha.