Pickleball: The Sweet Sport That’s Anything But Sour

Pickleball is a fun, low-impact sport that is rapidly gaining popularity! There are over 100,000 active pickleball players in the U.S. and pickleball facilities in all 50 states. Why not join the craze and check it out? It’s a great way to socialize while getting some exercise and several of our Rio Grande Valley RV resorts feature pickleball courts!

What is Pickleball?

It’s a fast-paced, family-friendly racquet sport that combines various elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. Pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors with two or four players. The rules are simple and the game is easy to learn, making it accessible to individuals of all ages and skill levels.

The game was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island off the coast of Washington by three dads whose kids were bored with their regular summertime activities. It’s rumored that the game is named for a dog named Pickles, who used to chase the balls while people played. It’s also been said that the game’s name was derived from the rowing world, where the slowest boat in a race is referred to as the pickleboat.

How Do I Play?

Pickleball is very similar to tennis or ping pong, with a few variations.

The ball is served underhand, without bouncing off the court. It’s served diagonally into the opponent’s court and must not land in the non-volley zone, the seven-foot rectangle in front of the net that is also known as the kitchen. The server continues serving until he or she faults by serving the ball into the non-volley zone, out of bounds, or into the wrong court.

Once the ball is served, the opponent must let the ball bounce before returning it. The serving player or team must allow the ball to bounce once before hitting it when it is returned. Once the ball has bounced on either side of the court, players are allowed to volley it or play it off a bounce. Players may not hit the ball within the non-volley zone unless it bounces there first.

Points are scored when the opponent fails to return the ball or hits the ball out of bounds. Players are responsible for calling the lines on their side of the court. Typically, pickleball is played to a score of 11 and must be won by 2 points. If necessary, play will continue past 11 points until a team wins by 2. In tournament situations, play may continue to 15 or 21 points. Points can only be earned by the serving team.

For a detailed explanation of all the rules of pickleball, check out the official pickleball rule book, published by the International Federation of Pickleball.

What Equipment Do I Need?

Each player needs a pickleball paddle, which is significantly smaller than a tennis racquet but larger than a ping-pong paddle and made of wood or some type of lightweight composite material. Players also need a pickleball, a plastic ball with holes in it like a wiffleball that is typically yellow or white. A pickleball court to play on is also necessary. Pickleball courts are lined similarly to tennis courts but are only about ⅓ the size. The net used for pickleball is 36 inches high on the sidelines and 34 inches high mid-court.

Where Can I Play?

If you’re looking for a great place to try out this trendy sport, Rio Grande Valley Encore has four age-qualified South Texas RV resorts outfitted with pickleball facilities: Alamo Palms RV Resort, Fun-N-Sun RV Resort, Tropic Winds RV Resort, and Victoria Palms RV Resort. Grab a paddle, a ball, and a partner and try out this sweet sport with a sour name!

For more information about pickleball and the other amenities and activities at Encore’s Rio Grande Valley destinations, send us an email or give us a call 1 (888) 259-4979.

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