What is pickleball, you ask? This fun sport, typically played outdoors, is extremely popular among active adults, and continues to grow in popularity with each passing day. In fact, nearly all of the 55+ communities throughout the Central Florida area feature their own pickleball courts on-site as part of the offerings to their residents. Pickleball is easy to learn and gets you outside for some fresh air, physical activity, and socializing, all in one! Check out this video for a quick look at how to play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTvPYdKZqO0.

Pickleball was first played in Bainbridge Island, Washington, in 1965. It is a paddle-ball sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. Two or four players, both men and women, use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, with 26-40 round holes, over a net. Like tennis, the game can be played in a singles or doubles format. The only thing you need to play pickleball is: a pickleball paddle, a pickleball, a partner(s), and a pickleball court, which are becoming easier and easier to find throughout Central Florida.

Because of the popularity of the game in Central Florida, Lake County has opened four new pickleball courts at P.E.A.R. Park, and there is a definite message in those new courts. While the county is acknowledging the explosive growth in pickleball with the addition of the four new courts, it is also recognizing the diminishing demand for tennis courts in this area.

In order to make the four new pickleball courts, the county re-purposed one of the two tennis courts at the park. So now there are 12 pickleball courts and one tennis court. The new courts are individual cages, giving the park six of those along with six courts of the wide-open variety with nothing between each court.

Pickleball even has its own governing body: The International Federation of Pickleball. The USAPA is the United States member of the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP)--the world governing body of pickleball. Established in 2010, the IFP was created by the USAPA to perpetuate the development and growth of the sport throughout the world. Today, there are 20 countries with their own Pickleball Association under the IFP umbrella. To learn more about pickleball, visit their website at https://www.usapa.org/international-federation-of-pickleball-ifp/.