Friday, April 26, 2013

A Pickleball Primer

Sarasota,  FL      High:  87      Low:   64

If you aren't interested in physical activity, it's time to skip the blog for today! Today's blog is all about pickleball! So many people have been asking, "What is pickle ball?" Sparky thought she'd do a little primer today, all about the game.....There are a LOT of pickleball players at Sun 'n' Fun....Or there WERE...Many of them have headed for homes up north, but Sparky is managing to get a few games in these last few days here at Sun 'n' Fun....

First, what in the world is pickleball? It's an indoor or outdoor racket sports/net game played on a shorter court than a tennis court, more like a badminton sized court and with a slightly lower net than a tennis court. The net is 36" on the sides, and 34" in the middle. The court dimensions are 20' X 44' for both singles and doubles, but a little extra room is recommended for player movement, so if the court can be 22' by 46', that's even better. For all practical purposes, the court looks like a tennis court. It's an easy game to learn and anybody from very young to very senior can play it! You play with special paddles and balls that look like this:

The paddles are made out of wood or in the pricier ones, high tech/aerospace materials. The ball used is similar to a wiffle ball, but is a little smaller. The outdoor pickleballs have large and small holes, the indoor balls have all the same size holes.

The lower net and wiffle ball make the game more accessible to all ages and abilities. In addition to the size of the court and type of ball, the rules make the game more accessible and fun for everyone. In tennis, when you serve, the game points are often won by the power of the serve. In pickleball, the serve is an underhand hit, and the ball must bounce one time on each side before you can volley. You can still ace a serve, but the underhand encourages a more gentler serve that's usually easier to return.

A quick overview of the rules: The game is played to 11 points and you must win by 2 points. Here's a link to the basic rules...http://pickleball.com/pages/rules-how-to-play-the-game

But if you are like Sparky, it sounds complicated on paper reading it, and it really isn't. The best way to learn the rules of pickleball is to get out and play! Sparky heard this morning on the pickleball courts that there are 120 pickleball courts in The Villages in Florida. That's that HUGE master planned community with a bazillion activities and cookie cutter houses all sandwiched together with different communities within the big community, and entertainment in the town squares 365 days a year. (Take a deep breath, Sparky! cautions E.) AND a bazillion classes and clubs...But it's not for us....once you get out of The Villages, there's nothing around that big ole community, it's located towards the center of the state.

(Uh, Sparky?....FOCUS! Get back to pickle ball!) Well, that just about wraps it up...to see the strategy of the game and how it's played, it's best to go to YouTube and watch pickleball games. All Sparky can tell you is, she's played with lots of players of all varying abilities these past few weeks, and over 50% of the players have had 1) knee surgeries, 2) hip replacement 3) back surgeries, and some hobble around like they can barely walk, or they weigh a LOT, and they can STILL play this game. It's a great sport and Sparky has played great players in their seventies here as well!
from the internet
Another great benefit of playing regular games of pickleball....Sparky can tell that her fat is being redistributed...she's not losing a lot of weight, but she can see her cheekbones now, and some tummy fat has disappeared or moved elsewhere, so she knows this is good exercise for her. Those of you who are THINKING about trying it, you really need to! It is a lot of fun. Everybody at Sun 'n' Fun enjoys playing the game for fun, and they are wonderful about welcoming newbie players. Sparky is going to have pickleball withdrawal when she leaves Florida, heading for TX, that's for sure!

Buh-bye for now......

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