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Pickleball: a fun and affordable option for people of all ages

Pickleball: a fun and affordable option for people of all ages

By Angela Morefield

The city of Greenwood has introduced the community to pickleball, currently one of the fastest growing sports in the USA.

What is pickleball, you might ask?

Ron West and his wife, Gina, have been playing pickleball for 18 months. Pickleball was originally invented in the mid-1960s as a children’s backyard game. Pickleball is similar to tennis; both sports use a net and participants play on a hard surface: asphalt, concrete or a wooden gym floor. In pickleball a paddle is used with a combined dimension of 24 inches, so the paddle can be 16 inches long and 8 inches wide or a maximum of 17 inches long and 7 inches wide. The ball is hard and plastic, with anywhere from 24 to 40 holes in it. It’s much like a whiffle ball, and a little bigger than a baseball.

The pickleball court is 44 feet long and 20 feet wide, with a center line between the right and left courts on each side of the net. There is a space called the “non volley zone,” which is an area of 7 feet on either side of the net. One player’s side can only score points when serving and most games are played until one of the teams reaches 11 points. In order to win, you need to win by two points.

Pickleball has become so popular that the city of Greenwood recently held its first Greenwood Pickleball Open. (Photo by Neal Smith)

When playing pickleball, both men and women can be competitive due to the smaller court size, the ball construction and the non-volley zone. “Don’t be misled by the smaller court size; you can get a very good workout depending on the effort you exert and your competition,” West said. Most pickleball players play in doubles, with a combination of four players, and can be all women, all men or mixed. Playing doubles can be a social activity, in which players get to know each other and develop friendships.

“I play at Greenwood Community Center indoors and Craig Park out of doors,” West said. “The city of Greenwood is committed to making Greenwood a major pickleball venue and the park department staff do an amazing job. The people who play at these facilities are great and accommodating to new and beginner players.”

Pickleball is fun and affordable, making it an option for people of all ages. The game is also quick, making it a convenient way to get in some exercise. “I have lost over 20 pounds and have more energy,” West said. “When I am playing pickleball I feel like I am 20 years old again, however, I must admit that the next day everything on me aches.”

For information about pickleball classes, please call the Greenwood Community Center at (317) 881-4545 or go to greenwood.in.gov/division/blocks.php?structureid=23.

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