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'Pickleball' Game Finds Popularity With Senior Sports Enthusiasts

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Pickleball might sound like an odd word, but it is a new sport that many seniors citizens are playing to stay active and social.

What is pickleball?

It’s a game for all ages involving paddles, a net and a wiffle ball.

“It is a combination to me of tennis, ping pong and badminton sort of," says Barbra Cairns. She is a kindergarten teacher who started playing pickle ball about two years ago out of curiosity.

Just like tennis, the game is played with singles or doubles and each person has a chance to serve. Points are scored when the team receiving a serve fails to return a volley. The first team to get 11 points wins.

Len Harvey is the executive director of Premiere Health and Fitness Center members play pickle ball three times a week. He says a member approached him about the game a few years ago.  He says, “a lot of these folks are playing pickle, you know I’ve seen them increase their hand eye coordination, increase their cardiovascular, their balance.”

Alice Pomidor is an FSU School of Medicine professor. She says pickleball is a great workout for balance, endurance, flexibility and strength. “Light sports activities, such as pickle ball are great for that,” says Pomidor.

Pomidor says improving flexibility and balance is important to help avoid injuries, better mobility and prevent falls.  She says, “Falls are tremendous source of injury and mortality in older adults."      

Jerry Morris a 73 years-old retiree, plays pickleball, walks, kayak and bikes.  He plays at the Senior Center, and says the game is not as strenuous as tennis, but it gives him a good work out.  He says, “when you retire you gotta do something. You sit down and watch TV, and if you do you gonna just rust away.”

Morris says if he can play pickleball he’s certain most retirees can do the same.