Athletics and Recreation

Pickleball, the Sport for All Ages


>>Eight, two, two. That’s right, yeah. (laughs)>>I make a lot of noises, I’m a hoot and a
holler type player. I talk a little trash
sometimes. (laughs)>>I just like hitting the ball because I like the feeling
when you hit the ball, especially when you hit it hard.>>You’re moving your opponent back and forth and then
you’re just kinda waiting, so they hit a high ball and
then you smash it on them.>>I love it because it challenges
all the movement patterns that we need to retain
as we get older.>>I have a decal on the
back of my car that says, “Happy people play pickleball.” This is a good group of people that get together and laugh and get some exercise and
have a great time together.>>Today we’re going
to learn about one of the fastest growing
sports in America. While it’s name might suggest it has something to
do with cucumbers, it’s actually a
combination of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. Join us as we talk
with Kayla Johnson, president of the
Charlottesville pickleball club. Come on!>>Uh oh, someone’s
getting trick shots on me.>>I didn’t mean it.>>It’s great!>>I’m just practicing.>>I like it. The original family
that founded 1965, in Bainbridge Island, actually derived the
name from a pickle boat. Two years after
that, they had a dog and they actually
named the dog, Pickles, so sometimes you will hear that the originator
of the term pickleball came from the dog, Pickles. Pickles actually came
around two years after.>>And these are two
guys who just decided that they wanted to shake it up. The kids we getting
bored with the sports and so they just decided
to make up this game.>>Their kids were bored one day and they could not
find the shuttlecock to their badminton net, and so one of the
three founders actually was a wood maker, and actually manufactured
some wooden paddles out of it. Found a wiffle
ball, told the kids, “Hey, go outside
and just hit around “with this wooden
paddle and ball.” And that’s actually
why the dimensions of a pickleball court
are exactly the same as badminton. Primarily it’s played
as a doubles game, you typically play games to 11 and we have a couple
of funny rules. We do have an underhand serve, so a little bit
different from tennis. Number one, the paddle
must be below your wrist. Number two, at the
point of contact, the ball must be
below your waist. And so after you meet
those, you’re good to go. But, if your paddle
comes too high, and you hit a shot like this, that is considered a fault.>>Fault.>>Because your paddle
wrist was too high. One of our funnier
rules is we have a line that is seven feet from the net. It is called the
‘no volley zone’ or beautifully also
known as ‘the kitchen’. (Terri laughs) And the whole notion
about the kitchen is you are not able to take a
ball out of the air in there. And so, you will
hear funny puns, “stay out of the kitchen.” Sometimes you’ll hear people who are hanging
out in the kitchen, will girder it as
“cooking in the kitchen”. And so, that particular
point makes it very unique. And the whole purpose
of that kitchen line is so that people
cannot just serve and run up and be able to just
smash the ball cause I mean, you kinda lose the fun
outta the game that way.>>Right. But, a lot of people
do like to play cause they really
wanna hit a ball.>>Oh yeah, I mean, the
great thing about the sport is a lot of the folks come from former ping pong backgrounds, a lot of former
tennis players will go and do that sport because it’s less
hard on the knees, less hard on the elbows. But you still get to have that
joy of just whacking a ball.>>There are really two levels to the way pickleball is played. If you go online and
just do pickleball games and look it up, you’ll see the pros
playing close to the net and it’s little
gentle shots back and forth until
somebody whams it. But here, and in
most social games, people are just
pounding the ball as you can hear
and see behind me.>>The equipment is important, and I think the
better player you are, or the choosier you are, you wanna get the better
paddle quality wise or some people go for the
name, go for the label. But it does matter whether
it’s a heavy paddle, light paddle, how
your game is played.>>When I first started to play, I had another racket, it
was a honeycomb racket. It was all right at first, and so I won this paddle and
it’s a really good paddle. I wouldn’t give it
up for anything.>>I use a different paddle, even for outdoor versus indoor. There’s a different ball, so the ball is like a
little heavier, outdoor. Just because it could be
windier and stuff like that. It’s kind of a more
tennis-y approach when you’re outdoor. Where this is more like
finesse when you play indoor.>>So, what surfaces
do you play on?>>So that’s actually on
of the coolest things about pickleball is, you can play on so many
different surfaces. So like, for example, here at the Y, we play
on a basketball court.>>Right.>>Same thing at the Key
Rec Center, as you notice, we can also play
on tennis courts, we can play on concrete courts, one of the coolest things
I’ve seen up in Baltimore, they actually have clay
courts that you can play on.>>Oh, that’s great. And this is a sport
that appeals to all ages and levels of players.>>Absolutely. And it’s such a
beautiful thing to see. I mean, I got into
the sport my mid 20’s, and it was really just a way
just to get to know people. And one of the beautiful things, and why I became continuously
hooked with the sport, is the age range. The fact that I can find people that were fifth
and sixth graders that were learning
from their parents, to, I’ve played and got
beat by people that were 90. (both laugh)>>0-2>>It’s important, some
sort of exercise is good. But what pickleball gives me, is it reduces stress because you can’t
think of anything else when the ball is coming at you. And it’s competition,
which makes it more fun. You will get surprised by
older, younger players. Some of the older
players are very crafty. That’s the best way to put it, and they like to beat
the younger players, more than I think
the younger players like to beat the older players.>>Age is more how you feel and I’m very lucky, everything works, I
feel fine at this age. I’m quick enough to play
the ball and enjoy it. But playing with young
kids is wonderful because they’re
fast, they’re quick, quicker than I am. And so I have to
devise this strategy to try to work around
their quickness.>>Back in 2011 is
when pickleball got started here
in Charlottesville. So there’s two amazing women, Margie Davenport
and Carolyn Law, who really brought it
to Charlottesville. And since then,
obviously it’s grown, I would say there’s
close to 300 folks in the Charlottesville
area that play pickleball. We needed a united front, we have been wanting
to boost the sport, we’ve been wanting to get more
dedicated courts in our area. And so, a group of folks which
was lead by Teddy Hamilton, actually formulated a board and we formulated the Central
Virginia Pickleball Club. So then we opened
business in January 2016, and it’s been nothing
but bliss since.>>Ooh!>>Almost, almost.>>Let’s talk a little
bit more about the club. What are the benefits
of being in the club, and it’s not expensive either.>>No, not at all. So, to be a member of the club, it’s only 20 bucks if
you’re an individual, $35 if you’re family, or
$15 if you’re a youth. We do a lot of social events. We also offer
discounts on lessons, as well as merchandise. We also provide a lot
of competitive events. We make them very
skill level specific because everyone deserves
to have a good game and have a very
competitive game. No matter if you are
at that lowest level, that 1.0 where you’re just
learning how to do the game or you’re a 5.0 player and you’re top of your class, everyone deserves to
have a great game.>>And one of the things too that the club helps
to keep an eye on, is making sure there is
really great places to play in our community.>>Yeah!>>And so, we have so many. The YMCA, we’re here today. ACAC which has supported
pickleball for a long time.>>Yes.>>Key Rec Center, which
was where it all started. PVCC.>>Yep, and we also have
Agnor-Hurt Elementary.>>Aren’t you also at Pen Park?>>Yes!
>>And then in the county–>>Out in Green County?>>Out in Green County, Crozet actually has a couple
of courts at Crozet Park, I was just talking to a lady
the other day about that, which is awesome. We have places, we’re
trying to get places out in Ruckerville, and then it expands beyond that.>>I teach the lessons
down at the city, instructor for the city
of Charlottesville. Watching people pick
it up right quick, and have a good time, be playing a game within an hour is just really satisfying for me and it’s a lot of
fun for them too.>>Well, I started playing
pickleball about 10 years ago and actually,
we’re kinda die hards. We played all winter
on Tonsler Park, we had to chalk the lines and we didn’t have
a pickleball net, which is a little lower
than a tennis net, but we played anyway, almost every week.>>I started basically to
get my dad into playing. He used to play tennis
and has a knee problem and a shoulder problem. And so, I heard about pickleball and it’s easier on the joints. So, I got him to go
out to open play, and then I got addicted as well. So, now we both play together, my uncle plays, my cousin plays. So, it’s more of a family
event now. (laughs)>>This is such a
fast growing sport, and there are tournaments too. All over. You are a very
serious competitor.>>I am. On my birthday in 2015, I played in my very
first tournament. It was at the Key Rec Center, it was sponsored by
Charlottesville Parks and Rec, and I actually won gold at it.>>Yay!>>And it was super awesome, and I got to the
point were I was like, “You know, I like this
competitive stuff!” and so I started
playing locally, I played in
Chesterfield, Roanoke, Arlington, Virginia Beach, and then I said, “I wanna go out further.” I played in Hartford,
Connecticut, Mentor, Ohio, I was in Pittsburgh. You know, I’ve been in
so many different places, and it’s great because it’s
just a big family reunion now.>>That’s what everybody
who plays pickleball says. That’s one of the things
they love about the sport is, the sense of community.>>Yeah, we always
check up on each other, we’ll do socials for
people’s birthday’s, we’ll go into the hospital,
we’ll visit with somebody. Regardless of where you play, if you meet someone
that plays pickleball, there might as well just be
another brother or sister. And so it has great
health benefits, both heart health, mental
health, social health. It has so many benefits from it, you can’t even imagine. The first day you go out there, you think you’re just
gonna go out there, test the waters,
see how it’s like, you’re gonna get
hooked immediately. I went out my first time, thinking I was only gonna go
out there for half an hour, I was out there for
three and a half hours. And it was only because
everyone started going home. (both laugh)>>This is great. Thank you so much.>>Yeah, no, this is been
a great opportunity, we just wanna get
pickleball out there. We want to get the
name out there, and know that, whether you
want to be a social player, or a competitive player, it doesn’t matter, it’s
just a great sport to play. It’s fun.>>Yeah, I’m sold.>>Awesome!>>People keep coming back because the social
side of pickleball is an immense part of the
experience people have here.>>I love pickleball
because it helps with hand-eye coordination. I like meeting new people and
I just like hitting the ball.>>It’s really easy to
get to know people, especially when you’re
playing the same sport, and you’re playing it
so frequently together and just lots of
nice people too. It’s a great sport to be in.>>Pickleball is tons of fun, it’s very addictive, and it’s
a great way to get exercise. (ball bouncing)>>Yeah, good shot! Good game guys.>>Good game, good game.
>>Good shot! (jazz music)


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