By, Surabhi Ashok
With the summer seasons upon us, people generally want to be more active and spend more time outside. Keeping this in mind, one sport has recently been exploding in popularity; pickleball, an activity similar to tennis and badminton, is enjoyed by all ages, especially seniors and baby boomers.
Pickleball is a very accessible sport: all you need to play is a paddle (wood or a combination of materials like aluminum and graphite), a plastic ball (the one with holes), a modified tennis net, and a badminton-size court. Whether you play indoors or outdoors, the court is set up with left and right service courts and a 7-foot non-volley zone, or “kitchen”, on both sides of the net. The non-volley zone prohibits someone from hitting the ball right out of the air if their feet are in contact with the area.
Pickleball can be both a single and doubles game, the social aspect becoming a major part of the sport’s appeal. Once you decide which side will start, the player on the right of the court will serve (only an underhand serve or a drop serve is allowed), and the serve has to go cross-court, or diagonal from where the first player was. Pickleball also has a rule that states that the serve and the return shot have to bounce before a player can volley the ball straight out of the air. The rally is over if someone hits the ball into the net, the ball goes out of bounds, or the ball bounces twice. In this game, you can only score a point if you are on the serving team, and each player gets to serve before they have to relinquish the ball to the other side.
Now, why has pickleball garnered so much attention from the senior community? One reason is that it allows them to exercise and remain active while keeping it easy on their joints and not over-exerting. The court is smaller than a tennis court is, which allows the ball to be kept in play for much longer, making the game easier and more enjoyable for beginners. Not only is pickleball easier on the body than other sports due to the lightness of the equipment and the rule to only perform underhand serves but it is also inexpensive to get into. A paddle is around $15-40 and the pickleball itself is about $2.
Pickleball is also good for a person’s mental and physical health. Many love the companionship they find when they play with their partner during doubles or their opponent during singles. Other than the social aspect, pickleball helps with hand-eye coordination, balance, and weight loss. It strengthens the cardiovascular system and elevates self-esteem, all things that are important to maintain as we age.
Having a multigenerational appeal, pickleball is currently the fastest growing sport with 4.8 million players in the U.S. as of June 2022. Join the trend, go buy a paddle and ball, and play pickleball with your friends as soon as you can!
Source: https://westchesterseniorvoice.com/health/healthy-aging/pickleball-is-all-the-rage.html | https://usapickleball.org/what-is-pickleball/ | https://muschealth.org/medical-services/geriatrics-and-aging/
By, Surabhi Ashok