Pickleball Gains Rapid Popularity

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Pickleball for all skill levels is offered free of charge at the Warsaw Community Center, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, from 8:30 to 10:30 AM. Barbara Zillner, of Warsaw, has been facilitating these games for several weeks, and was using tennis courts when the weather was nice. However, now that there is more of a chance for cold weather, the games have been switched indoors to the Community Center gym floor where she has been marking the 20 by 44 foot pickleball court lines. When warm weather returns games will be scheduled outside.
“My brother is a full-time RVer and told me that a lot of pickleball goes in retirement areas,” said Zillner. “I know that there are pickleball courts at Pomm de Terre State Park, and other places in the state.”
Zillner said that pickleball is similar to tennis, but smaller, with a shortened court. Ping pong paddles are used to hit a nerf ball. The game of pickleball is usually played to a score of 11. The winning team must win by two points or play continues until one team wins by 2. Only the serving team can win a point.
 Zillner said that all age groups can play the sport, but she expects that more retired people will probably take part in the morning sessions. She said the City of Warsaw has expressed an interest in the sport, and she can be flexible about the pickleball scheduled times depending on who wants to play. At the moment she said that some players are coming to Warsaw from Blue Springs and Independence and she has set up a schedule that is good for them.
I have invested in portable nets and have some paddles for players to use,” said Zillner. “Some players have invested in their own paddles, buying them from Walmart or online.”
The game of pickleball was created in 1965 when Joel Pritchard, congressman from Washington State and Bill Bell, businessman, returned home from a game of golf and found their families sitting around with nothing to do. They looked for some badminton equipment and couldn’t find any racquets. They improvised and started playing with ping-pong paddles and a perforated plastic ball. The following weekend, Barney McCallum was introduced to the game at Pritcher’s home, and soon the three men created rules that allowed for the game to be played by the whole family.
In 1972 a corporation was formed to protect the creation of this new sport, and in 1984 the U. S. Amateur Pickleball Association (USAPA) was organized to perpetuate the growth and advancement of pickleball on a national level. The first rulebook was published in 1984. Currently pickleball is exploding with popularity with nearly 8,500 locations in the USA Pickleball’s Places. Rules for pickleball can be found at google.com and on youtube, or by going to the USAPA website.
Zillner said that anyone interested in playing pickleball can come by the community building during the mornings of Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and talk to her.