Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Getting Into a Pickle(ball)

by Sally Fansler, PT
Move over, tennis and golf – here comes pickleball! A new favorite pastime among Baby Boomers, this sport combines elements of badminton, tennis and ping-pong. In recent years, it has become popular with older adults because of the smaller court, lower net, and slower ball speed. The rules are fairly straightforward and easy to learn, so pickleball easily becomes a fun social activity. It can be played indoors or out, in singles or doubles.

Over the past decade, however, the pickleball craze is taking hold at all age levels. Teenagers often play it in their physical education classes, and it is showing up as an intramural sport on college campuses. According to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), the sport has seen a 650% increase in numbers over the past six years. On-site pickleball courts are now being built not only at many retirement communities, but also as part of community park districts. The equipment – wooden paddles and plastic, whiffle-type balls – is also affordable, making it accessible to be enjoyed by a wide range of people.

Here is the pickleball rule overview:
  • The serve must be underhand and below the waist—and it must be made at least one foot behind the baseline, struck diagonally crosscourt.  Only one serve attempt is allowed.
  • Only the team serving the ball is able to score points, which take place when the opposite side fails to return the ball or commits other faults, such as hitting the ball out of bounds. 
  • When the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning, and then the serving team must let it bounce before returning, thus two bounces.
  • After the ball has bounced once in each team’s court, both teams may either volley the ball (hit the ball before it bounces) or play it off a bounce (ground stroke).
  • The two-bounce rule eliminates the serve and volley advantage and extends rallies.
  • With doubles, both players on the serving team have the opportunity to serve and score points until they commit a fault
  • Games normally go to 11 points, with the leading team needing to be 2 points ahead to win
Lakeshore Sport & Fitness in Chicago is planning an intro to pickleball class on Sundays in the fall of 2019. Please contact LPRacquet@LakeshoreSF.com for more information. The Chicago Park District is also growing their program and information on additional places to play can be found here: https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/taxonomy/term/2210