Pickleball Mania

Parksville Seniors Pickleball Club

 

 

Who would have believed that Pickleball, a game invented on Bainbridge Island, Washington State fifty-one years ago, was destined to become the fastest growing sport in North America? The game owes its name to Pickle, a ball-retrieving cocker spaniel.

According to the US Pickleball Association (USPA) there are currently over 200,000 players  in North America.[1]  Pickleball Canada reported six-thousand players in 2014 and twelve thousand in 2016, doubling in just two years – and the fastest growing group is 55+.

Pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It’s played on a badminton-sized court with a net a few inches lower than in tennis. Players use what looks like an oversized ping-pong paddle to send a ball back and forth across the net – until someone misses. Be careful not to step in to the kitchen!

To understand the popularity of the game, visit any pickleball venue. It’s a very social game. You’ll see people having a great time. One of the players will welcome you with a big smile, explain the game, and invite you to join in. You’ll play with a variety of partners and get to know them better chatting between games. With the growing popularity of pickleball, chances are someone you know will be there.

Pickleball is a fun way to exercise. The bending, reaching and court positioning helps improve mobility and flexibility. Striking the ball enhances hand-eye coordination, while keeping score helps with short-term memory. I’m still working on that, but no one worries too much about the score. Time literally seems to fly by, and I always leave a session feeling tired, but exhilarated. To get started, all you need are court shoes, and gym attire or comfortable clothing. Most venues provide paddles for beginners.

Even if you haven’t played racquet sports, Pickleball basics are easy to learn, but a good place to start is at a beginner’s drop-in clinic. After a few sessions, you’ll be ready to join the regular drop in sessions offered at many recreation centres.

Whether you’re a snowbird and flock south for the winter or travel close to home, there’s probably a |Pickleball group nearby.  No matter where you go in the Pickleball world, you won’t be a stranger for long.

If serious competition is your forte, Pickleball accommodates that, too. There’s a range of fun and seriously competitive tournaments. Oh, yes. There’s one other thing I should mention. Pickleball is highly addictive.

[1] http://www.usapa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Pickleball-Fact-Sheet-2015.pdf

[2] www.pickleballcanada.org/

[3] http://www.oliverchronicle.com/pickleball-popular-among-thousands-of-seniors/

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Pickleball?

Pickleball Equipment SuppliersAs a writer, it’s easy enough to sit at the computer for hours on  end, especially if I’m on a roll. My wife knows the drill. I don’t seem to respond to external stimuli, and if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m sitting up with my fingers moving, she’d probably call the EMT people.

“Please hurry, my husband isn’t responding,” but after  few seconds she might be tempted to add,  “well, on the other hand, take your time.” But, she’d never do that – would she??

Whether you’re a writer, blogger,gamer or social network junkie, we all need to take regular breaks and get some exercise. Thirty minutes a day of moderate activity is the minimum recommended (walking to the fridge doesn’t count), but I personally don’t think that it’s enough. Two thirty minute exercise periods would be more like it, but hey, lets face it, exercising can be boring. Disciplining yourself to regularly run, walk, cycle, swim, go to the gym or whatever, isn’t easy – but I have found something that works for me. In a word PICKLEBALL. It’s a great way to get some exercise, have a fun time and meet new people.

Colorful image of a Pickleball mixed doubles match. Pickleball is a ...

I first heard about pickleball two months ago, and If you haven’t discovered it yet, Go to pickleball.com to see demo videos. but be warned. Pickleball is addictive.

I  did manage to prove once again that you can get too much of a good thing. I overdid it, and now I need to lay off for a week until whatever I strained in my back resolves itself. Two of my neighbors weren’t so lucky. On their first time out, they both pulled calf muscles – one of them actually tore the muscle. Ouch. The lesson there is, don’t forget to warm up.

If you’ve played pickleball, share your experience!