Pickleball hits people hard and in a good way.
Even if you’re not already playing, you’ve likely heard about one of the fastest growing sports in the world right now and the fastest growing sports in America, including the North.
Pickleball is fun, easy to learn, affordable, spans all age groups and encourages socializing.
In 2017, there were 275 players in the Upstate Pickleball database; Today there are more than a thousand. Pickleball fields are being built in parks, recreation centers, and other facilities around Greenville. There’s even talk of an impending pickle sickness. People are also converting basketball courts and fairways into basketball courts.
Developed in 1965 by three families near Seattle Washington, the game was originally a way to occupy their children who were bored with traditional summer activities. The adults took the table tennis rackets, the WIFFLE ball, lowered the badminton net and the pickle ball was born. It wasn’t named until two years later, and it is rumored to have been named after a ‘pickle’ cocker spaniel who would chase a ball and run with it.
Pickleball is a unique blend of tennis, table tennis and badminton. Whether you’re someone who’s never played before or someone who’s a tennis champion, whether you’re 6 or 76 years old, blackball can be as difficult or easy as you do.
To win the game, which is played by 2-4 players, you must score 11 points and win 2 points. The equipment required consists of a WIFFLE ball served down with a paddle, wooden or mounted on a badminton sized 20 x 44 tennis court. One of the other attractive qualities about the black ball game is that it can be played indoors or outdoors.
According to John Moore of Upstate Pickleball, “Pickleball is a very easy sport to learn how to play and achieve quick success, thus making you want to play more.” He attributes the popularity of the sport to the social contact that is encouraged by playing on a smaller court where informal conversation is facilitated.
“I got into the blackball when I retired and it was a huge joy!” says Nancy Bennett, a blackball fan. She notes that the benefits she enjoyed from playing pickle ball were exercise and fellowship. Although she played tennis in high school and college, she says, “I’ve noticed that tennis players pick up on the game pretty easily. If you’ve ever enjoyed badminton, table tennis, or tennis, this is the game for you!”
Personally, I find the game of baseball fun, stimulating and challenging. It’s good exercise, good socialization, and a chance to try something new at any age. If that appeals to you, just remember that all you have to do is pick up a pickle, I mean paddle, and get into the swing!