Pickleball: A Sport For All

There is no denying that pickleball is the hottest sport right now, but what exactly is it? The sport of pickleball combines badminton, tennis, and table tennis into one game.

The sport is played on a badminton court with a net that is 34 inches high in the center just like tennis. Wooden paddles are used to play, paired with a plastic ball twice the size of a ping pong ball. Like tennis, pickleball can be played with 2-4 people. 

There is nothing more beginner friendly than pickleball, which can be played both indoors and outdoors, you can even join a league. Playing pickleball is a sport accessible to all ages, according to the site uspickleball.org, where over half of the players are between ages 35 to 65+. A great benefit of pickleball is that it helps people meet new people in a relaxed and social setting regardless of their skill level.

History of Pickleball

In 1965, a group of three men from Bainbridge Island, Washington, invented pickleball. The game was invented by Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum to keep their kids active and entertained during the boring summer months. The game was created by combining the rules of tennis, badminton, and table tennis and created using items found around the house. In spite of the fact that the game involved no pickles, it was name pickleball after Pritchard’s dog, Pickles, who was known for chasing the ball and running off with it.

Barney McCallum, Joel Pritchard, and Bill Bell created pickleball. The name comes from Pritchard's do, Pickles. | Photo: Pickleball Guide

Playing the Sport

There are rules to be followed as in any sport, and pickleball is no different. Like tennis, table tennis and badminton, there are simple rules to follow. Some basic rules, as well as links to articles that explain how to play pickleball in more depth:

  1. Serving (underhand);
  2. The two-bounce rule;
  3. Non-volley zone (area in which you can’t hit the ball or step unless it bounces in the zone);
  4. Staying inbounds is essential.

Why is It So Popular?

Pickleball is very popular among all ages, for a variety of reasons. In comparison to other sports, pickleball has an easier set of rules. It appeals to people because it is simple yet familiar.

In addition to easy rules, pickleball can also be played by groups as small as two to four people as well as by players of any age. Aside from that, pickleball keeps people active and competitive without being too abrasive and is a great way to meet new people regardless of your skill level.

Aerial view of pickleball courts at Wimberly Field.

Where to Play Pickleball in Oakland Park

Pickleball has taken off in Oakland Park and as a result the City has many pickleball courts.  Wimberly Fields Park and Greenleaf Park are both excellent places to start playing pickleball. The new City Park will also have pickleball courts and the new development by Pulte, Oak Tree, on the western end of the City, will have private pickleball courts for its residents. 

If you are not familiar with pickleball at all, try a  pickleball league. Whatever skill level you are, you will find a home in a pickelball league. To find a league in the Oakland Park area visit Global Pickleball Network. By doing so, you will be able to locate a league that matches your skill level and your desired location.

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*LivingInOaklandPark.com is an independent publication, not affiliated with the City of Oakland Park.

About the Author

Jada Spaulding

Jada Spaulding

Jada was born and raised in South Florida and to this day she calls it her home. She attends Nova High School and Florida Virtual School, where she learns the challenges of the world and how to thrive within. Currently, she is taking 12 classes, working part-time at Publix, an admin volunteer for local nonprofits, and a proud member of the National Honor Society. During her senior year of high school, she will be doing early admissions into Broward College, pursuing her high school diploma while getting a head start on her college degree.

After high school, Ms.Spaulding wants to pursue a PharmD degree and work for Publix Pharmacies. Helping out in the community and academic success is Ms.Spaulding number one priority, and she excels in everything she does.

One of Ms. Spaulding’s dream is to own a nonprofit organization that helps kids gain access to education and food in low-income areas and countries in need.

When Ms.Spaulding Isn't consumed with work, school, and volunteering she enjoys fishing, spending time with family, and spoiling her pets. At such a youthful age, Jada exemplifies passion, dedication and works hard to empower young people like herself to always follow their dreams.

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