Familiar with terms like dink shot, double bounce and groundstroke? If so, chances are you’re a pickleballer. Despite the enthusiasm of friends urging me to play, I’m among the few remaining pickleball holdouts in my neighborhood. Lack of coordination and depth perception have kept me on the sidelines, but the allure of venting my frustrations with an oversized ping-pong paddle has me intrigued.
What exactly is pickleball?
A fusion of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court, divided by a low net. Two pickleball courts fit in one side of a tennis court (many tennis courts have pickleball lines to allow for both types of play). The rules of play are quite simple, which makes it accessible to beginners.
The game starts with an underhand serve, and players must wait until the ball bounces before returning it. Get this… a serve that intentionally hits the non-receiving opposing player is called a “Nasty Nelson.” That alone makes me want to rush out and buy a paddle.
“Whether you’re a serious athlete or a beginner like me, there’s a place for you in this sport. It’s very inclusive,” says Jolanda Rettinger of Oakville.
Jolanda and her husband Dwayne have made Friday night matches with their neighbours a regular “date night” activity. “Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles which makes it super social,” she says.
A robust match followed by a game recap over cocktails and possibly deep-fried pickles? Yes, please.
Where to play
Both Oakville and Burlington Parks and Rec offer programs for new players. You can also join a recreational league or find a nearby court for a casual game with friends (or make new ones on the court).
Finding a court or learn-to-play location is as easy as Googling, “Pickleball near me.” There are both outdoor and indoor pickleball courts so you can play through all seasons. The Oakville and Burlington Pickleball Associations are other great places to learn more and connect
with other players in your area. Many private athletic and racquet clubs in the area have also enthusiastically adopted the sport.
Why pickleball is the trendiest game in town
Pickleball’s popularity is not surprising, given its appeal to people of all ages and skill levels. It’s a fun way to stay active, meet new people and share some laughs. The fast-paced action and strategic gameplay keep players engaged and coming back for more. And, it might be what finally gets a newbie like me to answer the Pickler’s rally cry to join the pickleball revolution.
Or you can head to www.burlingtonpickleball.com to learn more about the resources available through the Burlington Pickleball Association.
by Lisa Thornbury