By Wayne Crick
Once the coronavirus restrictions were relaxed to where groups of people could begin gathering for social and athletic events, a local pickleball delegation began a regular schedule of play for an average of 13-20 players each day of the week, Monday through Friday. There’s communication if circumstances warrant alerting the group, but mostly players show up beginning around 7 a.m. each day to enjoy a round-robin style of competition involving both male and female competitors.
The COVID-19 crisis halted play for several weeks but has been revived with an all-is-welcome-to-play agenda. There are players of various ages, abilities and handicaps playing at Bill Heddles Recreation Center in Delta Monday through Friday. Wednesday, according to regular player Aaron Clay, is a slow day sometimes with less than a handful of players showing up at times. Still, those who arrive play until everyone has had their fill of exercise and friendly competition, which is often somewhere around 11 a.m. each day.
Pickleball rules are simple. The game is normally played to 11 and must be won by 2 points. The serve must be hit with an underhand swinging motion and the ball contacted below the waist. The receiver of a serve must allow the ball to bounce before hitting it in a return shot. A served ball must bounce before being hit and a returned ball must bounce before it is struck as well (known as the two-bounce rule).
Pickleball courts are 44 feet long and 20 feet wide with three sections on each side of a 3 foot net. The section closest to the net on either side of is called the kitchen and extends 7 feet from the net. Beyond the kitchen are the two service courts (right and left) which are 15 feet in length and 10 feet wide each. Service is always diagonal (right service to left receive and vice versa). The best way to learn the game is to play.
There is an entire line of pickleball accessories and equipment to choose from when you Google the term pickleball.
The game is fast and exciting with varying degrees of competition each day at BHRC.