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What do tennis, badminton and ping-pong have in common?

by | November 13, 2019 5:00 pm

Last Updated: November 13, 2019 at 11:07 am

By VICKI BROWN
vbrown@lowcountry.com

What is pickleball? New to Colleton, pickleball is rapidly gaining popularity at the Colleton County Recreation Center.
The basics of pickleball include a fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. It can be played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net. All a team needs are paddles and whiffle *****. The sport can be played as doubles or singles.
According to USAPA.org, there are over 15,000 indoor and outdoor courts in the United States, at least one location in all 50 states, and one right here in Colleton.
Pickleball is being introduced to kids and teenagers in physical education classes in middle and high schools. Many retirement communities have adopted pickleball as an integrated sports activity for residents, especially in the Southern states. According to the latest Sports and Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) Participant Report, there are more than 2.5 million pickleball participants in the United States.
It is believed that pickleball was invented on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, Wash., in 1965. There were three dads: Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum who thought up this game for their kids who were bored in the summer. The dads started with handmade equipment and simple rules, but it rapidly grew into a popular sport throughout the U.S. and Canada. The game is growing internationally as European and Asian countries are creating pickleball courts.
Pickleball has an unusual name, especially since no pickles are used. There are differing accounts told by the “dads” as to how the name came to be, but according to Barney McCallum, the game was officially named after the Pritchard’s dog Pickles, who would chase the ball and run off with it. So, he said, “Let’s just call it pickleball.”
A pickleball court is the same size as a double badminton court. The same court is used for both singles and doubles play. The net height is 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches in the middle. The court looks like a tennis court with right and left service courts and a seven-foot non-volley zone in front of the net called the “kitchen.”
To play the game, each player will need a pickleball paddle, which is smaller than a tennis racquet but larger than a ping-pong paddle. They are made of lightweight composite materials, including aluminum and graphite. Players will also need a net and a pickleball.
The ball is unique, with holes through it like a whiffle ball. Different ball models are intended for indoor and outdoor play. ***** come in several colors, including white, yellow and green, but must be a single color to meet International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) specifications.
There is an official USAPA/IFP Pickleball Rulebook that can be purchased online, but Recreation Center employees can teach interested persons how to play.
Players wear just about anything comfortable and appropriate for the weather, such as shorts, sweatpants, t-shirts, tennis apparel, and court shoes. Sneakers or running shoes do not supply the right kind of support needed for pickleball. Eye protection is also recommended.
If pickleball sounds like something that would interest you, it is now offered at the Colleton County Recreation Center.

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