A hybrid of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton, pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the Coachella Valley. Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells is one of the many local clubs who picked up the game.
“In the last couple of years, it’s just taken off like wildfire,” Nigel O’Rourke, Toscana Country Club Director of Tennis and Pickleball, said. “We introduced the game here at Toscana about three years ago and now it has outpaced our tennis players.”
It’s a sweet game with a sour name which comes from a cocker spaniel named “Pickles” who used to chase balls hit by the games inventor over 40 years ago. The fun name goes along with the style of the game.
“You got the music going while people are playing, a lot of people in small areas,” O’Rourke explained. “We’ve got eight people out here. It’s a real social sport.”
When it comes to age and health benefits, pickleball favorites older generations.
“I get so many people that say, ‘Nigel I stopped playing tennis because my knees couldn’t take it or my hips couldn’t take it, my shoulders’,” O’Rourke said.
Making those with aches and pains a candidate for pickleball as the sport is low impact and much simpler than tennis.
“You need to know the rules and some strategy, but you really don’t need the technical skills that you need in tennis.” O’Rourke said.
The rules are different from any racquet sport. The serve must be from out of the hand and made below the naval. The server gets only one attempt, so don’t mess up.
According to the USAPA (United States of America Pickleball Association), the known places to play total of 5,869 at the end of 2017 represents an increase of 1,122 or 93.5 locations per month.
For more information on pickleball, visit usapa.org.