Funny name; serious game! Pickleball gains popularity

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by Tyler Baldwin

azfamily.com

Posted on June 18, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 21 at 1:25 PM

GOODYEAR, Ariz. --  It may have one of the silliest name in sports, but "pickleball" is turning into one of the fastest growing sports in the nation.

Here in the Valley, pickleball frenzy is in full swing in Goodyear. At Pebble Creek Resort Community, it's reservation-only on the community's eight pickleball courts.

"We've got some of the top players in the nation," says one player proudly.

Most pickleball enthusiasts admit that when they first heard the name of the sport, they were a little skeptical.

"I thought, when someone told me about it, it was almost a ridiculous game," one pickleball fan tells us. "I played one game, and then I called and told my wife I need this, this, this and this, and I've been playing ever since."

"I found it to be one of the most interesting and fun sports I've ever participated in," says another player.

Pickleball combines racquetball with badminton and ping pong. The sport is played on a court with the same dimensions as a doubles badminton court.

The net is similar to a tennis net, but is mounted two inches lower. The game is played with a hard paddle and a polymer, smaller version of a wiffle ball.

Although invented in 1965 as a backyard pastime, it's now rapidly gaining popularity. Some schools are even teaching it in PE.

"You get a good workout but have a lot of fun while you do it," players tell us.

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