With all the talk of the new sport in town, you may be asking “What is Pickleball?”
The peculiar sounding game has nothing to do with vinegar-soaked cucumbers.
According to USAPickle ball.com, Pickleball is a sport that combines elements of badminton, ping pong, and tennis. The game can be played indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net.
Local pickleballer Christie Pasman said it is a sport that is good for all ages.
Players use a paddle and plastic ball with holes in it to play. Pickleball can be a low impact and easy to learn game that can be enjoyed by virtually any age.
Pasman said there is no arguing in the game and everyone takes turns. “Whatever occurs on my side of the court, if I call it in or if I call it out, it stands. There is no arguing and it is a very friendly sport.”
Players can play in teams of two or by themselves. The ball is served diagonally and points can only be scored by the side that serves. Players on each side must let the ball bounce once before volleys are allowed, and there is a seven-foot “no-volley zone” on each side of the net called the kitchen. The players play until one team reaches 11 points, and they must win by two.
Pasman said that she has been playing in New Castle since the courts were built in 2013 with donated funds. The three pickleball courts are directly behind the Skate Park at Baker Park.
Pasman got into the sport after they started playing at the school she works at as a Social Studies teacher. She saw an article in The Courier-Times showcasing the new pickleball courts, and she and her husband, Kevin, started playing.
Pasman said a group of pickleballers play every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7 a.m. and on Tuesday nights at 6 p.m.
They had a few players on Tuesday evening this week, but she said there have been times when she’s seen around 20 players on the court.
“It’s about the fastest growing sport in America right now!” Pasman said.
You can find more information and meet other local players on the New Castle Pickleball Facebook Group.
Pasman was excited about the updates coming to the courts. The New Castle Park Board announced on Monday that the Pickleball Courts would be resurfaced on Aug. 8 and 9. She plans to host a grand reopening after the improvements are finished.
She thanked County Council Vice President Jeff Hancock and Bill and Sandy Maple for helping her keep the pickleball court in good shape. “The courts were the brainchild of Bill Maple,” Pasman said.
She said that the Skatepark has brought some challenges to the court including trash and damage to the third court. “Bill Maple ran a drainage line out that still didn’t help,” she said. Pasman hopes the city will be able to fix the issue soon.
Hancock brought this issue drainage issue up at the New Castle City Council meeting on March 21. During the meeting, the council did not come up with an answer to fix the issue at the court. Since that March meeting, the issue has not been brought back up.
The New Castle pickleball court is open to the public and you do not need to make a reservation to play on the courts. Pasman said it is an easy sport to start. She said paddles can cost anywhere from $40 to $200.
According to Pickleball.com, pickleball was started in 1965 by Congressman Joel Pritchard, William Bell and Barney McCallum. The three men started the game for their bored children on a summer afternoon. They gave the kids table tennis paddles and a whiffle ball, and lowered the net on their badminton court. The families quickly fell in love with the game.
From there, the game quickly picked up traction and is now played around the world, has national associations, tournaments, and around 200,000 players around the United States.