What Is Pickleball?
It's a little bit tennis, a little bit badminton and a little bit ping-pong. Despite all that, pickleball is completely unique. It's a racquet sport, and the pickleball court is a tennis-size court with a slightly modified net and game lines. Racquets are solid, usually made out of wood or composite materials. The ball is a specialized whiffle style. The rules of the sport are relatively simple. There's a no-volley zone around the net where you can't hit the ball before it bounces. You play up to 11 points with a minimum lead of 2 for the win, and you can only score when serving. You can play singles or doubles.
Who Plays the Pickleball?
If you have heard of pickleball, you may think of it as simply a casual, easy-going pastime. While it's true that you can play the sport at any level of skill, and while it may not take as much exertion as some of its cousins, you can also get just about as competitive as you want. There are even leagues for a more professional level of play. If you live in or around Naples, you may have heard about the US Open Pickleball Championship. It's usually held early in the year at the East Naples Community Park on Thomasson. Thousands of people attend the event, many of them competitors themselves. It truly is exactly as advertised: the biggest pickleball party in the world.
Why Play Pickleball?
One of the reasons that pickleball caught on and continues to grow in popularity is that it's a game anyone can play. It's relatively cheap to buy the equipment, easy to find a court and you can put just about as much effort into it as you want. Especially when you're playing doubles, you don't have to punish yourself to stay competitive in the match and have a good time. The next time you get an invitation, take it. The best way to understand the game is to give it a shot, and Naples has plenty of great courts. Win or lose, one thing's for sure — you'll have fun and get a little exercise in.