Relatively new to Australia, pickleball is quickly gaining popularity with more than 8000 players and 40 pickleball clubs nationwide.
What is pickleball?
Described as a cross between tennis, badminton and table tennis, the sport was created in 1965 by a group of friends in Bainbridge Island, Washington, in the United States.
Eager to play badminton one afternoon but unable to find a shuttlecock, they improvised by grabbing some table tennis paddles and a wiffle ball – a plastic perforated baseball – and lowering the net on the badminton court.
Since then, pickleball has been taken up by 4.8 million players worldwide, with the sport being particularly popular in over-50s communities as it provides a great opportunity to socialise while keeping active.
The rules of pickleball
The game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.
Pickleball and badminton courts are the same size, but a pickleball court will have the net lowered to a height of 86 centimetres.
It can be played with two people for singles or four people for doubles – doubles being the more popular option – and it is often played to 11 points.
The rules at a glance
- Use one pickleball and have each player use a pickleball paddle. Pickleball uses specially designed paddles which are smaller than tennis racquets, but larger than ping-pong paddles. A pickleball is a lightweight ball with holes through it, like a wiffle ball, and comes in a variety of colours.
- Hit the pickleball with an underhand strike below waist level to serve.
- Clear the net so the ball bounces once on the opposite service court. Aim for the service court diagonally across from you when you serve the pickleball.
- Switch to the other service court when you score a point.
- Allow the other player or team to serve when you commit two faults.
- You score a point when it is your serve, and your opponent commits a fault.
Pickleball courts at GemLife
GemLife Director & CEO Adrian Puljich said that pickleball is a beloved sport amongst GemLife homeowners.
“We have pickleball courts across our resorts. It is a wonderful way for residents to form friendships while keeping fit and the courts get especially busy during school holidays when grandkids visit and enjoy a game or two with their grandparents,” Adrian said.
GemLife Maroochy Quays has several pickleball enthusiasts with an official GemLife Pickleball Team which meets every Tuesday at the pickleball court at 5pm (show up to the court or contact Terry and Debbie Shelper to join), as well as a five-person team of friends who have been playing the sport every afternoon since the court opened last year.
Marilyn Ryan is one of the ‘pickleballers’ – a term their fellow homeowners have coined for them. “We’re a tight-knit group who have been together since Stage One, with most of us being neighbours,” said Marilyn.
“Pickleball is an amazing activity and with regular practise we have become more confident, and are able to play a daily game of doubles for over an hour. Life’s busy when you’re living in paradise!”