FEATURE – Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the United States. Originating in Bainbridge Island, Wash. in 1965, pickleball has spread across the U.S., Canada and around the world. So, what makes it so popular?
“Pickleball started out as a great sport for retired couples; now kids, teens and young adults have gotten into the game. It is relatively inexpensive to get into and just about anyone can play and learn the game quickly,” said Tom Wheeler owner of Pickleball Now, an online retailer. “It is the one sport you can play with your kids, teens, parents and grandparents at the same time – nobody is excluded. You can be a beginner or extreme athlete and still compete together. We see it as a sport for your life – the game you can play your whole life.”
For those who aren’t familiar with pickleball, it is a mix between tennis (played on a court), table tennis (played with hard paddles) and badminton. The basic rules are similar to table tennis and tennis. Games can be played as doubles or singles with a few different rules to help with spacing due to the size of the court.
There are a number of pickleball courts throughout St. George. The City of St. George has built courts out in Little Valley and are refurbishing courts in other parks around town. They are also starting to put on more tournaments year-round.
Summit Athletic Club has also built a number of courts due to the high demand. With some of the finest pickleball courts in town, you will often find the owner, Joe Levine, out playing a competitive pickleball game.
Recently, Pickleball Now supplied paddles to high schools, middle schools and elementary schools and involved co-owner Tim Finger, ranked nationally in pickleball, to help develop leagues amongst the schools. Many schools are viewing pickleball as an excellent way to get off the couch and involve kids in exercise while having the chance to discuss the importance of nutrition and health.
If you are interested in getting involved in a sport that can include the entire family and is relatively easy to learn, check pickleball out. Be careful – you may get addicted.
Written by St. George Health and Wellness Staff for St. George Health and Wellness magazine and St. George News.
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