In a never-ending quest to seek out new and innovative senior activities, community leaders and organizers are turning to Pickleball! Leave it to Boomers to take a tried-and-sport sport, put on a new twist and call it their own! Pickleball is a hybrid of tennis, ping pong and racquetball that is played in teams of two on a slightly smaller court.
Pickleballers are showing up at senior community centers, and Pickleball courts are springing up throughout senior residential communities. It’s estimated that Pickleballers may number more than 100,000 players throughout the United States and around the globe, according to the USA Pickleball Association. Yes, the sport has an organization, rules, specialized gear, and competitive tournaments!
The lawn sport was invented in 1965 by U.S. Congressman Joel Pritchard to entertain his family. The popular story is that Pickleball was named after the family dog, “Pickles”, who chased after the game’s whiffle ball. “Pickles’ Ball” was shortened to Pickleball. Another story says that Mrs. Pritchard thought the hodge-podge culture of the game was similar to the “pickle boat” in competitive rowing. Either version of the name’s origin is a colorful story that reflects the fun atmosphere of the sport.
Why should seniors activities Pickleball?
- It’s fast paced and easy to learn.
- It’s easier on the joints than tennis and other traditional sports.
- Tournaments, equipment, and playing courts are readily available within the senior community.
- It’s a great opportunity for family caregivers to take a break and socialize.
- Pickleball is a fun sport to play and it’s even funnier to say!
To locate Pickleball teams and tournaments in the Houston area, check out the USA Pickleball Association. Or, contact your local YMCA for more details in your area.