At Upside SportsPlex, our Pickleball program provides an opportunity to thrive and compete in a facility that features 6 indoor courts. The program offers a safe and competitive environment for all ages Monday thru Friday from 9am-Noon.
Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in America.
So what is pickleball?
In 1965, Congressman Joel Pritchard was entertaining friends at home. According to Maloof, “He had a badminton court, and the story goes that they couldn’t find the badminton equipment. So they got creative and hand-made some paddles. Then they experimented with a couple of different types of balls and settled on a whiffle ball. That’s how it started.”
And how did it get its name? It’s named for Pritchard’s dog Pickles, who kept stealing the ball!
But it wasn’t until 2005, when the USAPA was established, that the sport really began to take off. Some 20,000 people participated in the sport in 2017, up from just 4,000 in 2013.
How to play pickleball
Played on a court roughly one-third the size of a badminton court, pickleball uses a modified tennis-style net, wooden or graphite paddles, and a lightweight plastic ball. It combines elements of tennis, racquetball, badminton, and table tennis, which Maloof believes is one reason it’s become so popular.
“The skillset is so similar to pretty much any paddle or racket sport,” he explains. “If you’ve played tennis, badminton, racquetball, or table tennis, it’s going to seem very familiar. So the learning curve is almost non-existent. You can get on a court and play even if you’ve never even heard of the sport before.”