So just what is Pickleball? It is the fastest growing racquet/paddle sport in the world. It is literally taking over tennis courts in many locals and in many tennis courts in hotels in resort cities such as Las Vegas. Not only are the USA and Canada having a revival of this sport that originally started over 30 years ago but it has geometrically progressed into the newest sport phenomenon in the last five years worldwide. Here in Thailand there are groups in Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Bangkok and now here in Phuket, in Rawai.
The game is a combination of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. It’s played with a paddle about twice the size of a ping-pong paddle, but much sturdier, a tennis type net and a court size similar to a badminton court. Balls used are similar to a US size baseball but made of plastic with a number of holes in it, similar to a Whiffle Ball.
Pickleball can be played by all ages from teens through your golden years both male and female. In one club, a 92-year-old was playing a very decent game with people half his age. It is a very healthy sport, requiring some eye hand coordination, much less movement than tennis and most importantly the only thing you really need to play well is a good attitude and a little practice. It can be played indoors and outdoors. Plus it’s great fun.
To get a good look at the game, just go to YouTube and search it and you will see tournaments, court size, rules and playing strategies. You can see age group play as well as open play. YouTube is a great introduction for those new to the game.
The PPA (Phuket Pickleball Association) has started operation as a non-profit group to promote the sport in Phuket. They have a core group of 12 who play every Tuesday and Thursday from 4pm to 6pm and on Sunday morning from 9am to 11am at the Phuket Sports and Tennis Club in Rawai. Equipment is provided at this point but as new people join and like the game, it is expected that they will get their own paddles and balls. Basic rules and lessons are given and a play as you learn approach is taken. As they develop and increase their numbers they will add and adjust regular playing times to meet most needs.
Anyone interested should email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or text/phone 065-8098565 for more information, or just stop by the Phuket Sports and Tennis Club in Rawai any Tuesday, Thursdays or Sunday at the times given earlier.
Wear tennis shoes/trainers and they will get you in a few games and hopefully get you into the PPA as a regular player. Let’s Go Pickleball!
Text by Gene Van Lyuk.