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 two-four 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, Erlanger’s Sports Med Providers are sharing these three tips:
- Start slow: Gradually ramp up your mileage/play by 5-10% per week to prevent overuse injuries.
- Hydrate: Be sure you are hydrating properly, especially in the extreme heat. If you have practice or a game in the afternoon or evening, you should start to hydrate the night before if not before then.
- Warm up: The best prevention for muscle pulls and strains is to warm up with a stretch — and if planning on doing a lot of movement, warm up with a light jog before moving to something more physical.
Where to play in NOOGA:
Ready to pick up a paddle? See our guide of where to play pickleball in Chattanooga.
And if an injury is holding you back from playing pickleball (or limiting your ability to participate in any activity), see how Erlanger’s sports medicine experts can help.