(Greenville, SC) FOX Carolina - It looks a little like tennis, mixed with some ping pong and a dash of badminton. Pickleball might be the fastest-growing sport in the nation and in some cities, giant pickleball complexes are springing up.
John Moore conducts Pickleball clinics locally with Upstate Pickleball. He says, “Pickleball is growing because A, it's an easy sport to learn and B, it's easier on the body and C, when you play pickleball you find success early so it makes you want to play more.”
Played on a court about two thirds the size of a tennis court, players use paddles and wiffle balls that don’t go as far as a tennis player might expect. Moore explains, “The pickleball doesn't bounce as high so you have to step to the ball and the ball slows down and you have to catch up with it which makes it easier to play because they don't have to go running. I say that but really highly competitive pickleball is extremely rigorous.”
While some athletes choose pickleball as a possibly lower-impact sport, the social interaction might be as appealing as the game itself. Moore says, “A lot of friendships develop on the pickleball court.
Because the court is smaller than a tennis court, there's a lot of interaction and conversation that happens during a game. Also every game lasts about 15 minutes max so you're constantly turning people over and we do a lot of pickup games here.”
While Moore’s clinic was underway, a mother and her college-aged sons showed up for some pickleball, illustrating the games appeal to players of all ages. Twenty-one year old Luke Brennegan told FOX Carolina, “I play with my brothers all the time and my little nieces too so anybody can play.” When asked if he’s surprised that pickleball might be the nation’s fastest-growing sport he says, “Not really. It's super fun for at any age.”
In our area there are several indoor and outdoor courts that are open to the public and a growing number of tennis courts are lined for pickleball play. Learn about those locations and the rules of pickleball www.UpstatePickleball.com