Despite its silly name, pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in America. If you’re looking for things to do outside to stay physically active at any age, it’s time to find out why millions of people are playing pickleball right now.
What is Pickleball?
Imagine a sport that combines ping-pong, badminton and tennis, and you’ve got pickleball. No, it has nothing to do with pickles! The game was invented in 1965 when three fellows couldn’t find equipment for their badminton court, and improvised with ping-pong paddles and a wiffle ball. The mix of different sports reminded them of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats. Thus, pickleball was born.
While you can play indoors or outside, you’re more likely to find outdoor pickleball courts for public use in your area. As long as you’ve got a badminton-size court with something similar to a tennis net, you’re good to go. Players use a paddle that’s comparable to a ping-pong paddle, and hit a ball that, much like a wiffle ball, has holes to let air through. Similar to tennis, you can play singles or doubles. Because of the smaller court size and light ball, the game is incredibly popular among seniors looking for a low-impact form of exercise.
Breaking Down Pickleball Rules
Pickleball rules are simple enough for children to easily pick up but the game is competitive and usually sparks a passion after a few games. Here’s a quick summary:
- The ball is served underhanded and diagonally to the opponent’s service court without bouncing it off the court.
- Points are earned by the serving side only when the opponent faults (fails to return the ball, hits into the net or hits the ball out of bounds, etc.)
- Following the serve, each side must make at least one ground-stroke prior to volleying the ball (hitting it before it has bounced).
- Server keeps serving, alternating service courts until the serving side faults.
- The first side to score 11 points and leading by at least a 2-point margin wins.
Where to Find Outdoor Pickleball Courts Near You
If you’d like to give the sport of pickleball a try, you can find over 4,500 outdoor pickleball courts tracked by the USAPA. If there are no courts near you, you can easily make your own! Plenty of retailers sell portable pickleball nets, paddles and balls.
Ready to give it a try? If you’re looking for things to do outside, grab a friend or three and get moving!