What is “thocking” and “plocking”? Those words come to mind when watching pickleball players using paddle bats and “wiffle”-like plastic balls. Pickleball is one of the country’s fastest growing sports. It’s popularity is growing with people of all ages.
The thocks and plocks are the sounds of paddles hitting balls in a game similar to tennis. Pickleball is played on a smaller court and relies less on covering distance than on fast reflexes.
It’s a game about strategy and placement of the ball. A lot of strength is not required since the ball doesn’t have to be hit hard, thus making it a game of fun for all ages and skill level.
The sport is played with a paddle and a wiffle-like ball. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.
The Basics of Pickleball:
*A fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.
*Played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a slightly
modified tennis net.
*Played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes.
*Played as doubles or singles.
A Game for Everyone:
According to USAPA.org, there are over 15,000 indoor and outdoor courts in the United States; and at least one location in all 50 states. Pickleball is now in educational classes for teenagers in middle and high schools. And though the sport has become more competitive through the years, many players enjoy the social aspects of the game and the ability to stay active in their own towns and communities. Many retirement locations have adopted pickleball as an integrated sports activity for their population of residents. Tennis, racquetball and ping pong players love the competitive nature of the sport and regularly participate in local, regional, and national tournaments.
The History of Pickleball:
The game was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island. It has evolved from original handmade equipment and simple rules into a popular sport throughout the US and Canada. The game is growing internationally as well, in many European and Asian countries.
Why Call it “Pickleball?”
Pickleball is a very interesting name (no pickles are used). The inventor’s (Joel Pritchard) cocker spaniel, named “Pickles” may have inspired the game’s name when he chased the ball and run off with it.
The Pickleball Court
The game court is the same size as a doubles badminton court and measures 20×44 feet. The same court serves for both singles and doubles play. The net height is 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches in the middle. The court’s markings are similar to a tennis court with right and left service courts and a 7-foot non-volley zone in front of the net (referred to as the “kitchen”).
Each player has a paddle, which is smaller than a tennis racquet but larger than a ping-pong paddle. Players also need a net and a pickleball. The ball is unique, with holes through it like a wiffle ball. Indoor and outdoor play use different ball models. Balls come in several colors, including white, yellow and green, but must be a single color to meet International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) specifications
The snowballing interest in this sport has also prompted executives and board members of the Greater Marco Family YMCA to plan for more courts.
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