Kendall Tennis Club starting free trials for new pickle ball sport in the Hastings

PICKLEBALL PROS: Kendall Tennis Club member Bob Thompson and president Wendy Hudson.
PICKLEBALL PROS: Kendall Tennis Club member Bob Thompson and president Wendy Hudson.

THERE are no pickles required for this latest fitness craze.

The sport of pickle ball is being served up by the Kendall Tennis Club which will offer free trials for the new tennis-esque sport.

The American sport combines elements of tennis, badminton and borrows strongly from table tennis.

The club is hosting social competitions every Tuesday from 6pm and every Friday from 9am. Residents are encouraged to come and try the sport for free.

Kendall Tennis Club president Wendy Hudson said the club was considering adding the sport in early 2020 before the pandemic took hold.

"I'd seen some videos of pickle ball from America and it was something that could be played on our mini-courts," Mrs Hudson said.

"I thought it was a great sport for those who cannot move around the tennis court, a great way to stay socially connected, fit and healthy."

During the game, two or four players use solid paddles made of composite materials to repetitively hit a hollow, perforated ball over the net.

The plastic ball must stay within the court and only bounce once on each side. Players are also prevented from hitting the ball downwards close to the net in a 'no volley area'.

Games are decided on a first to 11 points basis and the ball is always served underarm into the court by the starting player.

Pickleball at Kendall Tennis Club.

Kendall Tennis Club member Bob Thompson said he had seen the sport played in Queensland and internationally, before campaigning to help bring in a local competition.

"We're just looking to start a few pickle ball games here slowly. It can be quite competitive with state and national champions," Mr Thompson said.

"I first saw pickle ball being played in the United States and I thought, I'm 77 years old but I can probably do this. This is shorter than tennis and games take about 10 to 15 minutes and there is plenty of rest and relaxation.

"It's easier on the knees and movement for people with joint problems. You don't have to run as far and as fast as much of it is played softly."

Mr Thompson said the game is played like table tennis but the ball travels slower than a ping-pong or tennis ball. In many ways it's like playing chess, he says.

The club also hosted a Tennis Australia coaching course offered to coaches from across the Hastings on February 19.

ON SERVE: Kendall Tennis Club member Bob Thompson.

ON SERVE: Kendall Tennis Club member Bob Thompson.

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