Well the name may not ring a bell, but it sure is an intriguing name for a fairly new international sport to hit the Indian shores.
Pickleball originated in the mid 1960’s on the Brainsbridge Island of the coast of Seattle. It was started as a simple family sport to keep the family entertained during the summer months, make shift wooden paddles were made, a hard wiffle ball was taken, lines drawn to mark a court and a net was put up and the rest is history.
Legend has it that Pickleball got its name as their pet family dog “Pickles” kept running after the ball and thus the name stuck. A more logical explanation would be that Pickleball is an amalgamation of three sports namely tennis, badminton and table tennis.
Pickleball has gained prominence in the last 10 years. America being the leader with associations, like USAPA and IFP setting standards and guidelines for the world to follow.
Pickle ball combines the elements of tennis played on badminton sized court with the net bought down to the tennis net height and the paddles are the double the size of a table tennis racket.
BENEFITS OF PICKLEBALL –
Pickleball’s USP and popularity lies in the fact that it is a sport that can be enjoyed across all ages from 8 to 80. It’s an easy sport to learn. The equipment is rather inexpensive and the games are highly interactive, thus making it perfect for community building and getting the whole family involved. Pickleball is a super fun way to keep fit. It improves hand eye co ordination. It helps you to feel better mentally and physically, thus boosting self confidence and burning calories in a fun and interactive way.
Pickleball hit the Indian shores around 7 years ago by a gentleman Mr Sunil Valawakar who later went on to form the AIPA ( All India Pickleball Association ). The first few were formative years but the last couple of years they have been doing vast work in promoting the sport at a grass root level.
Pickleball in USA has made huge progress with a magnitude of tournaments-clubs and Pickleball
facilities to promote this adrenaline fuelled sport. Europe too is not far behind and has jumped on to the Pickleball band wagon with regular international tournaments in Amsterdam, Madrid, UK and Finland. It is safe to say that Pickleball today is one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
Personally my Pickleball journey started 3 years ago. It came to me naturally as I was already an established sportsman, making the transition rather smooth. In the 3 years I have played multiple international tournaments and am the current National champion. My current partner Manish Rao and I (Atul Edward ) are the only Indians to play professionally and have been sponsored by Pickleball giants PROLITE of USA.