Tennis Courts are no longer just for Tennis.
Public and private tennis courts are becoming more and more multi-recreational courts. For years, people have been adding at least a basketball hoop and a key to their courts. Others have added shuffleboard, hopscotch and four squares, goal creases and additional lines for volleyball or under 10 tennis lines.
Pickleball seems to be the up and coming new sport added to tennis courts. NESCO had put them in, in towns like Marlborough, MA, Harwich, MA and Easton, MA
Pickleball was invented in 1965 and recently has been growing in popularity. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association reports 2.46 million people played in 2015. It is now being played throughout the United States as well as Europe, Canada and Asia.
The founders were three fathers Joe Prichard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum; who came home from a round of golf in the summer of 1965. Their kids were bored. They went to start a game of badminton, but found they were missing the shuttle cock. The three dads were resourceful and created their own game which later became pickleball. They lowered the badminton net, found a whiffle ball and made racquets for everyone out of a piece of plywood. The first game was then played on Bainbridge Island Washington.
The sport has evolved quite a bit since the summer of 1965. It combines the elements of tennis, badminton and ping pong all into one. The actual playing court size is 20 feet by 44 feet from line to line. The entire area to be played on is typically 34 feet by 60 feet. The size of the court makes it very easy to incorporate a pickleball court on a tennis or basketball court. The size of a tennis court inside the fence is 60 feet by 120 feet.
The court looks similar to a tennis court with a right and left service court. In front of the net, there is a 7 foot non-volley zone called the “kitchen” which a tennis court does not have. The height of the net is 36 inches high on the ends and 34 inches high in the middle of the pickleball court.
Pickleball is played both indoors and outdoors. Very little equipment is needed. Each player needs a racquet; which is between a tennis racquet and a ping pong paddle in size. The paddle was originally made from wood but a large number are now made of composite materials such as graphite and aluminum. Indoor and outdoor balls vary but are both full of holes like whiffle balls and are yellow or white in color.
The clothing people wear is casual anything from Polo to T-shirts, sweatpants or athletic shorts.
Pickleball is great activity of all types of people who are looking for exercise and competition, or those looking for a more social event with some exercise involved. The rules are very easy so a beginner can pick up the sport very quickly. Two, three or four players can play on one court (doubles seems to be the most common). The sport can become a fast paced, competitive game for more experienced players. Some of the rules vary from tennis to pickleball. Here are a few interesting variations from the rules of tennis to pickleball:
- The serve is under hand (below the waist) and you only have one serve.
- Both players on the serving doubles side can serve and score points until they commit a fault. The non-serving side cannot win A point. The first person serves until he faults. Then the partner serves until they fault. Then the other team gets to serve. Both sides can serve during a game
- Points are only scored by the serving team. Games are normally played to 11 and you have to win by 2 points. Tournament games maybe up to 15 or 21 points.
- Each team must let the ball bounce once and return the ball to the other side before either team cam return a shot without letting the ball bounce. Hitting the ball out of the air without letting it bounce is called a volley.
- In the “kitchen” area, the non-volley zone, (7 feet from each side of the net). Players are not allowed to hit the ball without it bouncing first. This prevents players from smashing the ball at the opposition. It is also a fault if a player hits a volley outside the non-volley zone and the person or any equipment associated touches the line or goes into the zone.
Pickleball is becoming more and more popular for people of all ages. Kids are playing the sport in their physical education classes at schools. Seniors are finding it a great way to get some exercise while at the same time enjoying the social part. The popularity is definitely growing as New England Sealcoating has been putting in more and more pickleball courts each year.