Pickleball is a Smash Hit

Why pickleball is becoming America's fastest growing sport and where to try it out

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Photo courtesy of Palm Beach Gardens Tennis & Pickleball Center
Photo courtesy of Palm Beach Gardens Tennis & Pickleball Center

If you haven’t yet played, you’ve at least likely heard about pickleball. The sport—which is like a cross between tennis, Ping-Pong, and badminton—is quickly taking over as one of the most-played games in the area. Just ask Huy Nguyen, head pickleball pro at the Palm Beach Gardens Tennis & Pickleball Center. He teaches the sport at the city’s newly expanded center and has seen increasing numbers of people gravitating toward it, especially tennis players. “More and more tennis players are starting to play pickleball because it’s easy to pick up games,” he says. 

Pickleball first came on the sports scene in 1965.In 1984, the United States Amateur Pickleball Association (USAPA) was formed and today boasts a membership of more than 53,000 players.

Nguyen explains the basics of the game: Like tennis, you hit a ball over a net, serve from the baseline, and play either singles or doubles. Unlike tennis, however, pickleball is played with a solid wood or composite paddle (shaped like a Ping-Pong paddle but bigger) and a plastic ball with holes in it. Scoring is in increments of single points. 

Aside from tennis players, Nguyen says the pickleball trend is being driven by local seniors who are choosing a more active lifestyle. And that is trickling down to younger generations. “A number of young people see their parents or grandparents play and become interested in playing themselves,” he says.

Where to Play

3 nearby courts

Doc Meyers Park, 10000 Old Dixie Hwy., Hobe Sound, website, 772.288.5400 

Lighthouse Park, 500 Captain Armours Way, Jupiter, website, 561.747.8380

Palm Beach Gardens Tennis & Pickleball Center, 5110 117th Court N., Palm Beach Gardens, website, 561.630.1180

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