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Pickleball a Growing Obsession You Need to Give a Try Here on the Suncoast

| Angela Naff |

August 8 was National Pickleball Day, another sign of how much this sport has grown in popularity. Haven’t you had a chance to try this sport yet? Not even sure what this would entail? Well, we have you covered. Pickleball combines badminton, ping-pong, and tennis that can be played indoors and outside with the right equipment.

Why so popular?

With the growing popularity of this game, many who have not played it before wonder what this game is all about. Why do so many people keep jumping on the bandwagon of this sport?

  • It is easy to play for all ages and skill levels.
  • It is a social game, allowing interaction with others.
  • It is fun for people of all ages to engage in.
  • All skill levels and fitness levels are welcome to participate.
  • A great exercise to get out and participate in.
  • Easy to make time for as there are many places to play.
  • Relatively inexpensive when compared to other fitness options.
  • It was filled with opportunities to compete in tournaments and other fun competitions.

Rules of the Game

Here are the basics of pickleball, according to USAPA:

  • To start the game, the player standing behind the right square has to deliver an underhand serve to the player in the diagonal square.
  • The first serve and the return must bounce. From there, players can volley the ball.
  • Players should be aware of the non-volley zone or the rectangular area in front of the net. Hitting the ball while standing in this area is not allowed.
  • Points are won if the opposing team hits the ball out of bounds, into the net, or fails to return a live ball.
  • Points can only be earned by the team that is serving.
  • The first team to reach 11 points with at least a two-point advantage wins the game.

The official rulebook for the game can be found at US Pickleball.


What is needed to get started?

  • A pickleball paddle – is the primary piece of equipment that you will own throughout your pickleball journey. It’s the centerpiece. Paddles can be made up of different types of materials that do a variety of things. Some manufacturers make paddles with plastic cores make them with aluminum cores. Others cover their paddles with fiberglass, while some finish it with graphite.
  • Shoes – open shoes, hiking boots, and swim shoes are not suitable for pickleball. Where things get foggy is with running shoes. Many people will start playing pickleball with their running shoes because it’s the most common type of sports shoe seen and the most convenient. But this can be a disastrous choice. To avoid injury, you will need sturdier shoes.
  • A place to play – if you don’t know anyone who plays, you’ll have to seek out some locations on your own. There are plenty of options available for you, though, and most of them are inexpensive (another benefit of pickleball). If you don’t know anyone, we’ve put together a good resource guide to finding places to play in Sarasota and Manatee counties.
  • Basic game knowledge – if you’ve played any other kind of racket sport before, whether it was tennis, ping pong, or badminton, you are already light years ahead. If you haven’t, don’t worry about it! This game is easy to learn, and you will pick it up just by playing. There are plenty of beginner-friendly pickleball locations out there as well that will help you learn the game.

Suncoast Locations to Play

Global Pickleball Network – Bradenton boasts 23 courts, and you can use the site to find other locations to play the world over.

Pickleball RUSH – a place to connect fans of the fastest-growing sport in the world.

Sarasota County Outdoor Pickleball Courts – please remember you must bring your net.

Sarasota County Indoor Pickleball – the county offers a variety of pickleball leagues, socials, tournaments, and demo days during the year. From October through May, you can play pickleball inside seven of our air-conditioned recreational facilities that offer various play times. 

Sarasota Pickleball Club – the Sarasota Pickleball Club, is pleased to announce that Sarasota now has 18 beautiful new dedicated pickleball courts as of July 8, 2022.

Sarasota Pickleball Organization – a great resource for all skill levels, where to play and connect with others that love the game.

Are you ready to get out and try this amazing sport? We are going to bet that you not only meet some new people but also find some amazing new recreation spots around the area and get some endorphin-producing exercise. From the first game of pickleball, many are hooked, and soon you may find tournaments, pick-up games, and other options become a growing obsession.

Happy playing, Suncoast!

Photo Courtesy of Deposit Photos

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