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Wed, Oct. 16

Column: Add pickleball to your list of New Year’s resolutions in 2018
'Paddle Up'

Since many people make a New Year’s resolution to lose some kind of weight, or at least begin exercising, pickleball may be a great way to jump start your year.

pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bamebridge Island off the coast of Seattle by a Dr. Pritchett and his three friends to solve a problem.

How do you mix adults and kids together in a game so generations can have a lot of fun? By borrowing ideas from badminton, ping pong, volleyball, Wiffle Ball and tennis, they created pickleball which now is the fastest growing sport in America. It’s catching on fast in Prescott, too.

And did you know the game was actually named after a dog named Pickles, who loved to chase balls gone astray and bring them back to the court?

It is a quick moving game using a paddle (ping pong) and a ball with holes in it (Wiffle Ball) on the size of a doubles (badminton) court, a forward area known called the kitchen called the non-volley zone (forward serving line of badminton) using a serving strategy (tennis) but underhand (volleyball) and (badminton). They added a unique rule the ball had to bounce once on each side before it could be returned either way and in a family counsel came up with the marketing nightmare name of pickleball!

At the recreational level it only takes an hour to learn and hence get addicted. All you need is a good pair of tennis shoes whatever kind of gym wear you have and away you go.

As for burning those calaries? You will burn from 50 to 200 calories per game and take from 150 to 500 steps a game all the while having a lot of fun.

Let’s say you burn 100 calories per game times five games per day and play the average of three times a week that is 1,500 calories per week plus add other sports, watch what you eat you should shed pounds, get the heart moving and increase you reaction time.

Those figures are on the low side. In the first year I lost 30 pounds and kept it off.

There are higher levels of playing today than when the sport was created. I refer to those players as pickleball warriors. Still the vast majority of players are recreational players.

At the recreational level we like to say where you hear the ping of the ball and all that laughter it is pickleball. Our United States Pickleball Association motto is “come join the fun.” What do you have to lose?

Bob Atherton is the Northern Arizona District Ambassador for the United States Pickleball Association (USAPA) a tier two Pickleball coach and credentialed teacher. You can contact Bob at or phone 928-499-2498.

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