Never heard of Pickleball? According to the USA Pickleball Association, this sport is one of the fastest growing adult sports in the country. The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) even offers Pickleball at six locations around the city in their 2019 schedule.
Played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court, the game combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. Two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball, similar to a wiffle ball, over a slightly modified tennis net.
“You need to be reasonably mobile, because there is a lot of moving up and back, and back and forth,” says Scott Parker, the DC Ambassador for the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), describing qualifications to play at your best. “If you played a racket sport that will help, because, by definition it is another racket sport.”
“Five years ago at DPR’s Senior Games, held each spring, a Pickleball tournament was added as an experiment. We discovered District residents [had been] playing elsewhere, because there wasn’t anywhere to play in D.C. So after two years of that, we [DC Pickleball enthusiasts] said to DPR, let’s try and set up a program in D.C.,” says Parker.
Parker volunteers to coach and train individuals on how to play and get comfortable with the sport.
“I’m… working with a bunch of new players, who haven’t played the game before. It takes a while to catch on,” Parker explained, speaking of a new Pickleball program he’s running at the Palisades Recreation Center. “This is our first couple of months [at the Center], so it is still building. We are focusing primarily on the Palisades, but in the upcoming months, we are going to expand into other D.C. recreational centers.”
There is no cost for District residents to use the programs at its recreational centers. DPR’s
web site, www.dpr.dc.gov, has information on where enthusiasts can find and play Pickleball in the District.
“There are locations throughout the city. So if anyone wants to, they could play Pickleball five days a week throughout D.C.,” said Parker.
To learn more about Pickleball, visit www.usapa.org to find places you can play throughout the nation, and, in particular, the locations, days and times for Pickleball within the District. A Pickleball demonstration will be held at the Palisades Recreation Center on March 13th, and due to its rise in popularity, Pickleball will again be one of the sports featured in the DC 2019 Senior Games this spring.