Greenwood Village pickleball enthusiasts David and Joan Zapiler are ready to play.
BY FREDA MIKLIN
The value of exercise to good health is well-known and indisputable, but let’s face it, those repetitive workouts can get mind-numbing. Enter pickleball, a challenging, fun and social game that just happens to come with built-in exercise.
Invented more than four decades ago, pickleball is growing in popularity at lightning speed. It’s fun for all ages, including those whose joints aren’t as young as they once were.
Played on a badminton-sized court with a net, special paddles and a two and a half-inch whiffle ball. It is easier than tennis, but every bit as much fun. The skills required to be a competent player do not depend on age, athleticism, or the ability to run far. All it requires is learning a few simple rules, practice and strategy, like many things in life.
Pickleball can be played indoors on a gym floor or outdoors on a court. All you have to do is paint the lines and set up the net. Since the whiffle ball doesn’t travel far, you can place four-person courts within feet of each other. There is little interference except for an occasional ball rolling onto the adjacent court. The social aspect of the game results from how teams are formed for each 11-point game. Anyone who wants to play places their paddle on the first available pile with other players waiting to get on the court. When there are four paddles piled up that becomes the next four-person group to play when a court opens. It’s more fun when games are evenly matched, so a group of four will try to split into teams with a similar level of skills and experience on each side.
Most rec centers have pickleball clinics, classes and open play, and increasing numbers of neighborhoods have their own outdoor courts. The city of Greenwood Village is hosting a free pickleball social on Thursday, May 24, at 9 a.m. at the court in the Orchard Hills Park accessed by the public trail north of Tommy Davis Park. For more information, call 303-486-5766. Goodson Rec Center at 6315 S. University has frequent clinics and open play Sunday and Monday afternoons and Friday evenings. For more information, call 303-798-2476. Cornerstone Park at 5150 S. Windermere Street has six lighted outdoor courts that are open for free play full time. A little further away, Trails Rec Center at 16799 E. Lake Avenue in Centennial, has open play every Tuesday and Thursday morning. The regular players at Trails are very friendly and welcoming to beginners.
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