If badminton and tennis got together and had a baby it would be pickleball. This paddle sport is played on a smaller court than tennis but there’s nothing small about the game. Pickleball is big fun, and there’s less running than tennis but plenty of cardio. And, unlike tennis which rewards those with more power, strength, and nerves, pickleball rewards those with, quick reflexes, fast footwork, and finesse. You play pickleball with a paddle and a plastic ball that has more holes in it than Swiss cheese, like a whiffle ball. The play becomes more about the touch, a soft dink at times, and ball placement. There isn’t any strong-arming a racket and smashing the ball downcourt. There’s not a lot of bounce in that plastic ball either so you have to hustle over a short distance to return it once it hits the court. In fact, it shares the same court size as badminton, but you serve underhanded over a lower net.
With six recently resurfaced courts and new nets, the pickleball game is picking up at The Ranch. Like any sport, you want to start off on the right foot. Proper footwear and spending a few moments to warm up with arm and upper body movements and light running will help you stay healthy and injury free.
“The movements and court surface are similar to tennis,” says Ranch tennis coach Marcos Landavazo, “so the best shoes are tennis shoes.” Running shoes offer very different support and not the kind needed for fast-paced lateral movement you may find yourself executing. “If you’re looking for something that is going to challenge your balance and coordination,” he says, “pickleball is perfect. And, when you get to hit something, it’s very cathartic.”