In 2016, we were happy to see a report in the TowneLaker (a sister publication of Around Acworth) on the growing popularity of the sport with the “funny” name. This year, we are proud to report that, according to The Economist, pickleball is still the fastest growing sport in the United States! It began as a family recreational sport in 1965, and, today, there are professional leagues in the U.S. and around the world. Pickleball at the local level is usually a grassroots initiative, and those efforts can be seen in our communities and the surrounding areas.
One of the reasons the sport is so popular is that it’s easy to play a game, or several games, at courts offering open-play pickleball. With an open-play format, all you need to do is show up, find the court that is matched to your level of play, and wait for your turn to jump in and join the fun. The game can be fast or slow, depending on skill level, and most participants are hooked after just one game. Many describe pickleball as a game of outdoor ping pong, played on downsized tennis courts, so hand-eye coordination is key to success.
Tennis courts are often dual-purposed for pickleball, which means that the borders of the pickleball court are painted within the tennis court borders, and an adjustment is available to lower the net to the height of 34 inches, 2 inches lower than a tennis net.
We believe this game with the funny name is here to stay for a long time. It is fun for all ages, an easy game to learn, and a challenging one to master. Players from all skill ratings can play together and have a fun match, or simply enjoy a healthy outside activity for all involved.
– Mike and Linda are trying to “promote a good, positive outdoor experience for the community.” Visit the Pickle Brookshire page on Facebook.
Tennis vs. Pickleball: What’s the Difference?
Pickleball and tennis often are compared; they are played on the same courts, after all. To give us a better understanding of the sport, Mike Walls compiled a list from Pickleball Kitchen (https://pickleballkitchen.com) and added his insight on the major differences between pickleball and tennis.
- The court dimensions are the same for singles and doubles. “This simplifies the game. You can switch easily from singles to doubles.”
- Overhead serving is not allowed. Serving in pickleball is underhand only. “This greatly enables a broader range of playing. A tennis serve takes a long time to master. In pickleball, you are essentially lobbing the ball over the net — unless you are an advanced player — and the return team must let the ball bounce once before returning. If you don’t have the ability to power the pickleball across on a serve, a hit into the correct quadrant (diagonally across) is all that is needed to put the ball in play!”
- There is no double fault with serving in pickleball. “This speeds up the game. If your serve is not good, it goes to your partner, unless you are the second server, in which case the serve goes to the other team.”
- In doubles, each player of a team gets to serve at least once until they lose their turn. “This enhances team play. You and your teammate have a different offense strategy when you have two turns at serving per team.”
- Pickleball is significantly easier on your knees. “Some will debate this, but the logic is that you are playing on much less real estate than a tennis court, and most pickleball is played as doubles. While aerobic, it is just as much a game of strategy as it is athletic ability.”
Places to Play
Our USA Pickleball Ambassador friends in Cobb County, Ginny Jarvis and Sherese Stringfield, gave us the “inside scoop” on all things pickleball in the county. Visit the NorthWest Georgia Pickleball and Pickleball Marietta Facebook pages for more information.
Acworth Community Center
- There are two indoor basketball courts also painted for pickleball in the center. Pickleball open play occurs 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays, and 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays. https://bit.ly/3wKapn0.
- Pickleball lessons are available on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Registration required through Acworth Parks, Recreation and Community Resource Department. 770-917-1234.
- Kennesaw Parks and Recreation will have pickleball courts at the new Recreation Center at Adams Park. The opening of the center is slated for Jan. 8, 2022.
Cobb County Parks and Recreation
- Shaw Park — 11 total pickleball courts (one of which requires a portable net) are available for free pickleball play on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Oregon Park — six permanent pickleball courts available for free play on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Kennworth Tennis Center — play at 9 a.m. Mondays. Cost is $2 for juniors and seniors, and $3 for adults.
- Wild Horse Creek Park — two courts lined for play. Free to use, first-come, first-served.
- Lost Mountain Tennis Center — two courts lined for play. Cost is $2 for juniors and seniors, and $3 for adults.
- Fair Oaks Tennis Center — four courts lined and shared on tennis courts. Cost is $2 for juniors and seniors, and $3 for adults.
- Ward Recreation Center — free public play 10 a.m.-noon Tuesdays and Thursdays. Equipment is provided.
- Fullers Recreation Center — two single courts lined and shared on the tennis courts. Free to use, first-come, first-served. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.
- Ron Anderson Recreation Center — free pickleball play noon-3 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Equipment is provided.