Popularity of Pickleball on rise in Greenville - FOX Carolina 21

Popularity of Pickleball on rise in Greenville

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David Swick (left) and his teammate play Pickleball at Gower Park. (File/FOX Carolina) David Swick (left) and his teammate play Pickleball at Gower Park. (File/FOX Carolina)

Pickleball is a new sport that is gaining popularity in the Upstate since it was launched this fall.

The City of Greenville Parks and Recreation started the Pickleball program in September, and now players participate in weekly games.

"It's like Ping-Pong on a tennis court," said Pam Davis with the parks and recreation department. "They use paddles, and they use round plastic balls."

"It's awesome, you have to play it," said David Swick, a Pickleball player. "It's better than tennis, a little more action, so I enjoy it."

Swick has been playing since Greenville began offering it after he heard about the game from his parents.

It gets him out and keeps him active. And for someone who can't play tennis, he said it's probably the best alternative.

"In tennis you have to do overhead hits and it's hard on my back, and this is not," said Swick. "So it's a little easier on your body."

SLIDESHOW: Pickleball players in action

Parks and recreation officials said the program is getting so popular that they're in the planning stages on starting a league.

The sport is basically a low impact version of tennis, and is mainly targeted towards an older audience, but when people saw the program listed online, they got curious - leading to a younger crowd.

"That was another pleasant surprise that we had folks, 20s and up, coming out and playing," said Davis. "It's a great way for senior adults to get active, but if we have younger people playing, we want them to come play too."

"If you've played tennis before, you play a lot of net game, and this is almost all net game," said Swick. "It's fast, it's competitive, it's also fun. you also get to play with all these people."

And just because it's a lower impact game than tennis doesn't mean players work any less.

"Bring it and have fun. That's the key," said Swick.

Players interested in taking up Pickleball can try it free for their first visit. After that, it can cost between $5 and $10 and the racquets - or paddles - can run about $60.

The group meets every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until noon at Gower Park in Greenville until Nov. 24.

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