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Pickleball: America's Fastest Growing Sport

Over the last few weeks, there’s been a buzz about an up and coming sport called Pickleball. I’ve been very confused yet intrigued to learn more about this mystery sport.  Why is it called Pickleball? What’s making this sport the fastest growing sport in America? Where can I learn more about this?  A quick Google search brought me to The United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA).  According to, Pickleball is a fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It can be played indoors or outdoors in singles or doubles fashion.  

When a friend of mine mentioned that a coworker of his teaches and plays Pickleball every Saturday at the Wilkes-Barre YMCA, we jumped at the opportunity to learn the ropes. After a 30 minute session learning rules and etiquette of Pickleball, we headed to the open court for match play.  Here are some of my takeaways from this past weekend of playing pickleball:

  • It can be comparable to tennis, badminton, or table tennis, however, it has many of its own unique rules.
  • Due to the size of the court, speed and athleticism aren’t necessarily an advantage.
  • There is a seven foot non-volley zone on each side of the net referred to as “the kitchen”.  Players cannot enter this zone unless the ball bounces inside this zone.
  • On a serve, the players paddle must make contact with the ball below his/her waist.  Once successfully served, the receiving team must let the ball bounce once before returning.  The serving team must also let the ball bounce once before returning to the receiving team.
  • Games are generally played to 11 win by 2.
  • Pickleball paddles are larger than a ping pong paddle and smaller than a tennis racket. The balls used are comparable to a plastic wiffle ball with holes.

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This game is incredibly fun and great for people of all ages. Not unlike every racket/paddle sport, there are levels of beginner, intermediate, and advanced.  It’s a great way to stay active without much risk of injury.

I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to learn this game while it’s hot and on the rise.  My friend and I played pretty well for first timers. We eventually worked our way onto the intermediate court. Pickleball may be on its way to becoming an olympic sport. If that’s the case, tune in to watch me play in Tokyo.