By Kelly Cassidy
CPRP, Marshfield Parks and Recreation Department
“Pickleball,” you ask, “What is this funny-named sport?” This game began as a backyard family activity in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Wash. The game, now played with formalized rules on a badminton court, was named after a family dog called Pickles who chased the ball and would run off with it into the bushes.
Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of tennis, pingpong, and badminton. Pickleball’s appeal is that it is fun, easy to play, and that everyone can participate. It is played on a badminton-sized court with a tennis-type net, paddles similar to pingpong, and a Wiffle Ball. The court is 20 feet by 44 feet, and the net height is 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches in the middle. Games are played to 11 points and usually take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
Marshfield Parks and Recreation became aware of this sport after a couple of residents returned from spending the winter in Florida and asked for a location to play pickleball. As this sport continues to grow in popularity around the Marshfield area, there are now two locations in the community with courts, including two indoor courts at the Oak Avenue Community Center and two outdoor courts on the Braem Park tennis courts.
The sport is popular among all ages. Some think that the smaller court and the larger ball and paddle make it easier to play than other racquet sports. A beginner can learn to play pickleball in less than an hour.
The most challenging part of the sport is placing the ball accurately. It is not a sport of brute strength. It is about accuracy and placement. You learn different techniques and strategies from other players.
We would love to for you to give this fast-growing sport of pickleball a try. You will find the benefits are endless: great exercise, increased hand-eye coordination, mental alertness, meeting new friends, and, most importantly, having a good time.
We are currently offering pickleball two days per week at the Oak Avenue Community Center, 201 S. Oak Ave. The facility is open on Mondays from 2-4 p.m. (until Dec. 29), Tuesdays from 7-9 p.m., and Thursdays from 2-4 p.m. (starting Jan. 9, 2015). Admission is $2.50 at the door, or discounted tickets can be purchased in the Parks & Recreation office, 630 S. Central Ave., Suite 201R.