Have you heard of Pickleball?
No, it’s not what we call it when a person gets into a pickle over their finances or estate.
It’s actually a real game.
A mash-up of tennis, badminton, racquetball, and ping pong, it’s got a net in the center of the court and is played with paddles and a ball. However, this is an easy-on-you.
Now played internationally, it was invented on Bainbridge Island, Washington. It has been gaining popularity in recent years but was actually invented in 1965 (back when Joe and Walter were finishing university, not yet law school bound).
We want you to know about Pickleball
because it’s particularly great as we get older.
Pickleball may just be the ticket to getting you, or an aging or limited loved one, out and moving.
Exercise + new friends + fresh air = fun and health.
(And perhaps the worse you are at it, the more you get to laugh.)
It’s much easier to learn and easier on the body than other games of the genre.
The USA Pickleball Association says of the game: “Fun, social and friendly. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.”
Pickleball is good because:
- Regular exercise can keep your body healthier longer, or keep you independent and more able longer. Pickleball can help with balance, reflexes, and range of motion, all of which will mean a healthier body.
- The top of the net is 34″ high at the center which is 2″ lower than a tennis net. (So much lower than a 5′ high badminton net!) That should translate to less shoulder-raising stress, which is good as bodies age and lose some range of motion. Not that one can’t raise an arm and smash the ball…
- It’s a good way to get back to social, get us out of the funk we’ve all felt this past year.It’s played close to the net on a court ⅓ the size of a tennis court so you’re close to the other player/players.
- It keeps your brain active as you strategize.
- A half-hour workout such as you get from Pickleball just three times a week lowers the risk of heart disease. It can improve blood pressure and cardio-respiratory functions, and lower bad cholesterol — all important to middle-aged and older adults. Oh, and that’s all good for your memory.
- The game can be played with singles or doubles.
- Played in the sun can give our bodies time to turn the cholesterol in our skin into the all-important vitamin D.
- It’s a fun, no-pressure game — unless you’re into the competition, of course.
“Pickleball as a sport borrows its philosophies from numerous sports such as badminton, squash, racquetball and most importantly tennis.” ~ “RacquetSportsCenter.com
Where to play
There are courts pretty much all of California. You may find a court near you by searching at Places 2 Play. Some tennis courts are being converted because they can accommodate more players and, we’ve been told, require less maintenance. Badminton courts are easily converted.
If you’re not into searching out available courts, you can even buy a free-standing net and play in a driveway, street, or patio. Just make sure it’s regulation height and not a kid’s toy size. We’ve seen some that aren’t the correct height for the challenge.
The court, by the way, is badminton-sized. That’s 44′ long x 20′ wide, about ⅓ of a tennis court. In case you’re wondering, an official-sized ping pong table is 5′ wide.
How to play
The rules are fairly simple. You can read them at PlayPickleball.com/how-to-play but it’s easier to watch their video.
How can we not like a game that has a kitchen? Unfortunately PlayPickleball.com doesn’t also have a video on scoring but the simple info is at PlayPickleball.com/scoring.
The game uses paddles, like ping pong paddles but larger. They’re smaller than a tennis racquet though. Their weight varies by material.
- Here are PickleballCentral.com’s beginner paddles (and some sets).
- For serious details about paddles, there’s a Paddle Selection Guide here at PickleballCentral.com. It shows you how to choose the best size for yourself. It even has advice for if you have arthritis, “tennis elbow” or an injury to your hand.
- Paddles can get pricy but each place seems to have a few wooden paddles starting at $13. In case you prefer to shop in person, we found a paddle as low as $19.99 at Dick’s Sporting Goods. (Dick’s has you covered throughout most of California.)
The Pickleball ball, as you may have noticed in the video, is based on a Wiffle® ball. It’s not as fast and bouncy as a tennis ball. It’s also s a tad larger than a tennis ball. There are a few ball designs in order to accommodate playing indoors and out, on various surfaces.
Want to dig deeper?
- The full set of official rules of USA Pickleball are at USA Pickleball.com.
- If you’re a tennis player, this RacquetWarrior.com comparison may help you. Or this page at RacquetSportsCenter.com.
- Wondering about the speed of Pickleball? A Pickleball Ambassador for Arizona provides comparisons of the speed to several other games.Here’s a web search for Pickleball suppliers in California to help you get started if you’d like.
(Note: We do not have any relationship with the stores or websites we cite in this article.)
Wishing all of you good, or better, health
LA Elder Law: Joe Girard, Esq. & Walt Whitaker JD, MBA