A net shorter than a tennis net, a paddle bigger than a ping pong paddle, and a court the size of a badminton court. That’s right, it’s pickleball — the fast paced game that’s sweeping the nation.
ICYMI, pickleball is tennis, ping pong, and badminton rolled into one. The easy-to-play game (read: anyone can learn in ~5 minutes) is as fun for newbies as it is for pros, and has a wildfire-knack for accumulating obsessive followers.
Why the pickleball craze?
Known as the fastest growing sport in the US, the game that got its start in 1965 has skyrocketed in popularity the last few years — growing to millions of players, 38,000 courts, and 47 major tournaments across the country.
The reason it’s so catchy: All ages can play, with kids, seniors, and everyone in between filling the courts. The highly social sport is so fun and easy to learn that many people find themselves playing weekly in a short time.
How to play (and tips to prevent injury):
Pickleball rules are simple. Open to 2-4 players, gameplay feels like life-size ping pong with tennis vibes and badminton fun. The game isn’t as intense as tennis, but — as with all physical activities — injuries can happen. (And it’s all fun and games until, well, it isn’t.)
When picking up a new sport, staying injury-free is top priority. To help, Roper St. Francis Healthcare orthopaedic surgeon Brian Cash, MD, shares these three tips:
- Listen to your body: Have aching joints or swelling knees? It’s time for a break. Be aware of current pains and past injuries — the goal is to avoid re-aggravation or overuse injuries.
- Be intentional with recovery: Recovery is an important precautionary step. Stay hydrated, use ice packs as needed, and take recovery days between plays.
- Know when to seek help: While overall considered a safe sport, pickleball can cause pain in the shoulder, elbows, hips, and knees. Any sudden or severe pain — or minor pain lasting longer than a week — should be evaluated by a doctor.
There’s a new pickleball court in town.
In case you missed it, here’s our comprehensive guide to the best local spots to play pickleball. But there’s a new player in town, and (spoiler alert) it’s more than just a pickleball court.
Occupying nearly 39,000 sqft at 3365 S. Morgans Point Rd. in Mount Pleasant, Crush Yard Pickleball Club & Restaurant is set to open in spring 2023. With 34 beers + 12 wines on tap (and a food menu to match), the new venue is making pickleball even more social. It’s what Crush Yard’s Director of Pickleball/Head Pro Dan Levine calls “a restaurant, a lounge-like atmosphere, and a club feeling… (coming to) a community that craves new, fun places to dine, exercise, and hang out.”
The membership program is what Charlestonians should have their eye on, according to Dan. Two tiers of membership offer perks like members-only morning hours, discounts, bottomless fountain drinks, and more.
In addition to being Charleston’s hottest new place to play, folks can look forward to events, lessons, private party rentals, and pickleball tournaments (of course).
How to get started:
Ready to join the pickleball craze? Before hitting the court, buy yourself a pickleball paddle (or two). Now through March 7, CHStoday readers can save 20% on Nettie pickleball paddles + sets with this exclusive discount. 🏓
Stock up on pickleballs with these Wilson Tru 32 Pickleball Balls — approved by USAPA for competitive play.
Looking to play at home? Make your own court with these mini markers and this height-adjustable net.
For paddles with personality, we love this Southwestern-themed paddle, these light pink and green paddles, or this bacon and eggs paddle.
And for even more paddle personality, customize your own paddle with this best-selling option.
Psst — We have the best gifts for pickleball players for that friend, family member, or barista in your life passionate about the sport.
Our Guide to The Best Local Spots to Play Pickleball
The Best Gifts for Pickleball Players