Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in America.
The game that resembles tennis, badminton, and ping-pong has been on the rise for the past decade, according to NBC News. If you haven’t heard of pickleball or played it, Salt Lake Community College provides a pickleball course to help you get on the court. The course teaches students with varying skill levels, from beginners to seasoned players.
“When the course was first offered three years ago, we did not have enough students sign up to hold a class for three consecutive semesters,” course instructor Brett Davis recalls. “This semester, the class filled up and three people were on the waitlist trying to get in if someone dropped.”
Pickleball is a paddle sport and is most popularly played with four people. The game entails hitting light and perforated polymer balls similar to Wiffle balls over a net, with solid paddles smaller than tennis rackets.
The sport was first invented in 1965 by Joel Pritchard, Barney McCallum, and Bill Bell. The game was created during one hot summer afternoon on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The inventors dreamed it up to encourage their kids to get out of the house and play in the summer sun. Little did they know that their fun summer activity, played with surrounding neighbors, would take off and soon gain national attention.
“It’s really a neat class and sport. I get to meet cool people and since I don’t have family here in state, the class becomes family,” 71-year-old audit student, Robert “Scotty” Scott, states.
The beauty of this sport is that it can be played by all ages and still be competitive. While the “youngsters” in the sport may focus on their speed and athleticism to score, older folks focus on placement and precise hits. Well-rounded players use both strategies to win matches.
Anyone enrolled in the class learns that over the course of the semester, you become a tight-knit group.
“I have had the most repeat customers for this class than any of the other four classes I teach. I usually recognize about a third of the class from the semester before,” Davis reveals. “I am assuming that means the students enjoy learning to play the game.”
Tennis players will catch on fast if they can abandon their top-spin. Anyone can pick it up quick; it only took three games for Davis to become comfortable with playing.
SLCC’s pickleball course is offered on Fridays from 9 to 10:50 a.m., but that may change with its growing popularity. The course also fulfills one lifelong wellness credit, which is part of the general education requirements.