What-Ball?: Pickleball: the sport for all ages and all skill levels.

When I was home for Easter break, I watched a decent amount of television (because college doesn’t allow for much leisure time). I surfed the channels, hoping to
happen upon some kind of sporting event to feast my eyes upon. Eventually, I came across last year’s USA Pickleball Championship.

Imagine playing tennis, ping-pong, and badminton, but all at once. That’s pickleball. And yes, you heard me correctly. Pickleball.

In 1965, three fathers joined forces to create this family-friendly game. During a summer on Bainbridge Island, off the coast of Seattle, Washington, their kids found themselves bored with the usual swimming in a pool, jumping in a lake, playing frisbee or building sand castles. The dads united and invented the growing sport of
pickleball, whose rules and equipment have evolved since. Pickleball is played with a paddle and a plastic ball that has whiffle ball-like holes. Formerly made out of wood, the paddles have evolved to being composed of aluminum and graphite materials.

Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles, and the court’s layout allows for either casual or intense games. The outdoor or indoor pickleball court is the size of a doubles badminton court. It is painted similar to a tennis court, with two service areas separated by a centerline and two non-volley zones that extend the length in front of the net. However, you can absolutely play pickleball on a tennis or badminton court.

So why should we care about this amalgamation of country-club sports? Other than the fun-sounding name, pickleball provides cardiorespiratory fitness, like other forms of physical activity. Specifically, a Western State Colorado University study found that this type of fitness provided by pickleball was great for middle-aged and older adults.

You don’t have to be a middle to old-aged human to enjoy pickleball, though. The game can be played with your college friends to get some casual physical activity into your stressful college life. Try pickleball over the summer; I promise it’s a big “dill.”

Sources: AARP, USA Pickleball

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