July 4, 2009

"Pickleball making its mark in Oakland" by David McClelland

The Oakland Press http://www.theoaklandpress.com/
Saturday, July 4, 2009

Pickleball making its mark in Oakland

By DAVID McCLELLAND Special to The Oakland Press

Two years ago, most people hadn't even heard of pickleball.

Today, there are close to 40,000 players and that number is growing every month, according Bill Booth, president of the USA Pickleball Association.

Pickleball is a game a lot like tennis and is played indoors on gym floors and outdoors on tennis courts. A plastic, poly baseball with holes is used, as well as short handled, solid wooden paddles.

The court is a downsized tennis court and is 20 feet wide by 44 feet deep, with colored tape to define the court, the serving box and the “kitchen,” which is an area 7 feet deep on each side of the net.

The serve must be underhand with the paddle below the wrist, bounce in the serving box and the ball must bounce once on the receiver’s side of the net and the server or the receiving team, in the case of doubles, must let the ball bounce once before returning it.

After that, the players may move to the net and the speed of the game increases dramatically.

Points are awarded only to the serving team. Games are played to 11, 15 or 21 depending on the event.

Why is it called pickleball? Apparently, the creator had a dog named Pickles which kept stealing the ball during play. Pickleball was created during the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island near Seattle.

Its creators were U.S. Congressman Joel Pritchard, William Bell and Barney McCallum. Initially, families played pickleball in their backyards on a hard surface, on driveways and on residential, dead end streets.

Since the mid-70s , the sport has expanded. It is now played in schools, parks and recreation centers.


To learn to play pickleball, instruction is available at 9:30 a.m. every Monday and Wednesday at the Auburn Hills Community Center. Call (248) 370-9353 for more information.

The Michigan Senior Olympics will be played from 7:30 a.m. to noon and from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7, and Wednesday, July 8, at the Auburn Hills Community Center. More games will be played at the Older Persons Commission in Rochester at the same times on July 9 and July 10.

Visit http://usapa.org/ to learn much more about pickleball.

USAPA Member David McClelland (left) recognized,
by USAPA Board Member Dick Manasseri (right),
for Gold Medal Service as a
USAPA Michigan Great Lakes Pickleball Referee