Arial view of pickleball court. Getty Images

Pickleball is the sport you’ve almost definitely heard of but might not have played yet. Despite its somewhat silly name, this is a high-energy game with a huge following that is excellent for players of all ages and abilities.

Pickleball is played with a paddle on a court with a net down the middle. Many think of it as a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It’s easy to learn, you can play it in doubles or singles, and it doesn’t require expensive equipment like some other sports.

Where did pickleball originate?

Pickleball only recently exploded into popularity in the U.S., but two dads actually created it in 1965 in Washington. After a game of golf, their families were out of things to do. So, with odds and ends scrounged up from other games, they created the tennis-badminton-ping-pong mashup we know today as Pickleball.

Photo: Getty Images

How is pickleball played?

Pickleball is played using a square-shaped paddle to serve and return a Wiffle ball back and forth across a net. Wiffle balls are hollow plastic balls with holes that allow air to flow through, making them very fast-moving balls. Additionally, pickleball nets are two inches closer to the ground than tennis nets, and the game is played on a court the same size as a badminton court. Each round begins with an underhand serve; then the players volley the ball back and forth using their paddles. Like any game, players must follow some detailed rules, but they are relatively easy to learn.

A pickleball paddle, ball, a court and a friend is all you need to start a pickleball game. Photo: Getty Images

What is needed to play?

To begin, you need a pickleball court, which is easily found thanks to the game’s popularity. If a special pickleball court isn’t available, you can modify a tennis or badminton court to serve your purposes. A net is also required. You’ll need a paddle, a pickleball, and proper activewear, including sneakers or running shoes.

Photo: Getty Images

Why should I play pickleball?

Playing Pickleball has all kinds of advantages. First, it is excellent exercise, and playing will help you maintain physical well-being. The strategy and attention needed to play will also help keep your mind sharp. As a quickly growing sport, Pickleball is also an optimal way to meet new people, make friends, and be part of a community. You can play without a significant financial investment, any time of year, as long as the court is indoors. And you’ll learn a new skill, which is good for both body and mind.

Photo: Getty Images

How can I find pickleball where I live?

If you’re ready to get started, you can easily find a place to play. The USA Pickleball Association keeps a database of all the pickleball courts available. You can easily access it via the organization’s mobile phone app or on its website. If there’s not a court near you, modify a tennis court with some colored tape, and add a portable net to make your own pickleball court. You can also check in with the Long Beach Pickleball Club on Facebook.

Photo: Getty Images

Who can play pickleball?

Anyone can get involved in Pickleball and, with a bit of practice, become an expert in no time. The game is great for kids and families. People using wheelchairs can also play it by using specifically adapted rules by the USAPA. Individuals can join leagues to facilitate recreational play and encourage competition.

Pickleball has gotten extremely popular for a reason. Anyone can play this exciting, easy-to-learn game. It’s a fun way to get some exercise and meet new people while having a blast.

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