Pickleball — a great game with a silly name | SierraSun.com

Pickleball — a great game with a silly name

Bev Keil
Special to the Bonanza

A group of IVGID residents plays pickleball at the Incline Tennis Center on Tuesday, June 2.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Have you heard of pickleball yet? If not, you will soon. Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country.

It is being spread from community to community by folks who are introduced to it in one location, then take it to another.

There are a ballooning number of regional, national and international tournaments, and a grassroots effort to make pickleball an Olympic sport.

Why is pickleball becoming so popular? Because it is easy to learn and difficult to master, it's a good, quick workout, and it's a great way to meet new people.

It is fun at all skill levels, does not require expensive equipment, and doesn't take a lot of time. This sport is inter-generational.

Old and young, male and female can become equally competitive. Beware: Playing pickleball can become addictive.

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Pickleball is played on a court with a net, a short-handled paddle and a whiffle-type ball. Four pickleball nets can fit within the space of one tennis court.

That means 16 people can, and do play doubles pickleball at one time in the space of a tennis court.

Pickleball is faster than tennis and easier on the shoulders. The serve is underhanded, and most points are scored near the net in a quick exchange of volleys or soft touch shots.

The ball doesn't bounce very high, so there is some bending to reach low shots and execute with finesse.

It's easy to work up a sweat in a few games. Playing improves your hand/eye coordination. Injuries during play are rare.

The best way I can describe pickleball is that is feels a bit like playing ping pong standing on an oversized table. It also has elements of tennis and badminton.

In most locations, there are drop-in pickleball schedules. You don't need a reservation or a playing partner.

Just show up and you will rotate into games with different partners and different opponents. That's where the social aspect comes into play.

My husband and I were introduced to pickleball several years ago in the Las Vegas area and got hooked.

When we returned to Incline, we missed playing so much we persuaded IVGID Rec Center to obtain some basic equipment and paint pickleball court lines on one of the eleven tennis courts.

Pickleball is now available at the Incline Tennis Center. We have a growing group of "regulars," and new folks constantly come out. The tennis courts have been re-painted recently, and a dedicated pickleball court was designated.

Our drop-in schedule is Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 p.m.

Basic instruction is offered to new players, and paddles and balls are provided. Wear tennis/court shoes, a hat and sunscreen.

Soon you will also be wearing a smile. Contact the Pro Shop for more information: 775/832-1235.

For other places to play around the lake, visit the USA Pickleball Association website and look under "Places to Play." Check out the USAPA great training videos as well at usapa.org.

Oh yes, the name. The folks who invented the sport had a dog that always chased the ball. His name was Pickles.

Bev Keil is an Incline Village resident.