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Pickleball in Naperville

The game may look familiar but it’s got a name and sound unique to its play.

“Pickleball is basically a racquet sport that combines many elements of table tennis, actual tennis, and badminton. It’s actually played on a badminton-sized court with a shorter net than a tennis court and we used oversized ping- pong paddles instead of a tennis racquet,” said Nicole Allen, a Pickleball player.

The sport began back in the 1960’s, and as legend has it was thought up when three dads needed a way to keep their kids occupied.

They came up with Pickleball, and named it after one of their dogs, named Pickles, who liked to chase the ball. Today it’s gaining popularity in age group due to the various intensity levels with which you can play.

“It’s interesting because when I first heard of it I went home and talked to my kids and they told me that played in gym class, and then I’ve talked to others who say oh my grandma plays it, my grandpa plays it,” said Betsy Feldman, another Pickleball player.

And now it was my turn. So I grabbed the wiffle-ball and gave it a shot.

Typically played in doubles and indoors, the game plays a bit like a tennis or badminton match with a few particulars.

“You serve the ball over the net, the ball has to bounce two times before you can actually volley it. So you serve, the opponents let it bounce, they hit it back, the serving team has to let it bounce and then anything goes. The only thing you can’t do, there’s an area in the front of the court called the kitchen, and you cannot volley within that. You have to let it drop before you hit the ball,” said Allen.

It wasn’t long before I realized why others have found fun in a game with a silly name.

“It’s really a sport for all ages and abilities to that’s what makes it fun, the smaller court also makes it more social, you can talk, there’s some trash talk sometimes going on all in a good way, so it can be very social,” said Allen.

“I just found myself wanting to play more and more, it was easy to pickup and we went out with some of the tennis pros and could be competitive with them, so that was fun too, again that aspect of anybody can play together and still have fun,” said Feldman.

Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.


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