The fastest growing adult sport in the nation has arrived in DC. The “thwack” of a paddle on a pickleball is now being heard by new and experienced players at three sites around the city as a result of a new program. The first reaction is usually, “What is pickleball, and why should I be interested in learning to play?”

Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of tennis, table tennis, and badminton. The court is smaller than a tennis court; it is the size of a doubles badminton court, and therefore easier for senior adults to play than traditional tennis.

Typically, four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, which looks like a wiffle ball, over a net. The game was invented in the mid-1960s as a backyard pastime, but it has become very popular among adults as a fun game for players of all levels, particularly active seniors. The game is great for exercise, but it doesn’t require the speed and range of tennis. It’s a gentler game that is both social and competitive.

If you are interested in seeing a video, search “Brian Williams Pickleball.” He did a two-and-a-half minute piece on the fast-growing adult sport in March 2014.

The program is offered at three pilot sites on three different days of the week:

  • King Greenleaf Recreation Center at 201 N Street SW from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Tuesday
  • Emery Recreation Center at 5701 Georgia Avenue NW from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday
  • Sherwood Recreation Center at 640 10th Street NE from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. every Thursday

Free instruction and demonstrations are available, thanks to the seven volunteers who staff the program, and there is equipment to borrow. Come on out! You will be delighted by the experience and encouraged to play more as you learn.

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