Paddle away with pickleball

Looking for a new, fun game to play? I would suggest you give Pickleball a try. It was brought to my attention a couple of years ago but I never got the opportunity to play. Well, this last September at Family Fitness Day, down on the NA Riverfront, I got that opportunity. My husband loved it. I must admit I wasn’t completely sold on it but we were invited to Shively Baptist Church, where the nice folks demonstrating the game play on a weekly basis. Well I am here to tell you that now we are both hooked and I have started a weekly Pickleball night at the Y.
The game was actually first played in 1965 and was thought up in someone’s backyard in order to keep the kids busy and having fun, but then the adults joined in too and the game continued to grow from there. Today there are people playing all over the world, there are tournaments and even a non-profit organization known as the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) that was organized to promote the growth and development of the game.
The game itself is not difficult to play, probably harder to explain. It is played on a court the size of a badminton court (20’ x 44’). There is a non-volley area called the kitchen which extends 7 feet back from the net on each side. The net is similar to a tennis net, 36 inches on the ends and 34 inches in the middle. The paddle reminds me of the size of a racquetball racquet but the look of a ping pong paddle. It used to be made only of wood but now a lot of them are made from lightweight composite materials including aluminum and graphite. The ball looks like a small waffle ball and travels 1/3 the speed of a tennis ball. The game can be played singles or doubles inside or outside.
The game begins with a serve, just like tennis, except that it is an underhand stroke and the player must strike the ball below waist level. The ball must bounce one time on the receiving side and then once on the serving side before it can start being hit on the fly. A player cannot enter the kitchen to return a ball unless it bounces first. Points are scored by the serving team only and the first team to 11 wins as long as it is by 2 points.
If you would like more information and a full set of rules on the game of Pickleball, be sure to visit or


Julie Callaway
Julie Callaway is the Senior Wellness Director at the Floyd County YMCA. She has a degree in Sports Studies from ISU with a specialization in athletic training.


Published from the Feb. 2015 Southern Indiana Fitness Source.