What is Pickleball – rules and regulations of the growing sport

Pickleball has grown in prominence and has become extremely popular in the United States over the past couple of years. Image: Creative Commons

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is getting into pickleball; one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. He is one of the few NBA stars to have acquired stakes in Major League Pickleball franchises.

Major League Pickleball announced Wednesday that an investment group, led by James and his business partner Maverick Carter, has purchased the rights to a professional pickleball team.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love are also involved in the investment group.

What is pickleball?

Pickleball is a fast-paced paddle sport with similarities to tennis, although it is played on a much smaller court with a net using a perforated plastic ball.

The sport has its earliest origins in Washington, USA in 1965 – 57 years ago. It is played on a court similar to tennis but less than a third of its size, which brings it closer to badminton in its dimensions.

Instead of using traditional tennis rackets and balls, the sport initially used lightweight plastic or wooden paddles. Now, professional players are using carbon fiber paddles and other advanced materials that balance strength and weight.

One area where the sport hasn’t changed much is in the balls used. The plastic hollow ball with holes is still used by players. It bounces much less than a tennis ball due to the reduced flex. This, along with “no-volley zones” on the court, means players have to wait for the ball to bounce, then use speed, agility and flexibility to play their shots that resemble badminton than professional tennis.

Carter is believed to have been instrumental in promoting the investment. “When I started playing pickleball, I immediately connected to the community of the sport and its ability to be both fun and competitive,” Carter told CNBC of the sport that is a combination of tennis. , badminton and table tennis. “Watching the sport grow in communities everywhere is really exciting, and we can’t wait to bring our expertise together to try and build a championship team.”

What are the rules of pickleball?

Like most racquet sports, pickleball can be played in doubles or singles. The majority of the rules are similar to the rules of table tennis. Players must serve sneakily while sending the ball down the court. When serving, the returning player can only hit the ball after the first bounce.

According to professional gamers, people of all ages can learn the sport quickly and get into a game right away.

Where do we play pickleball?

Many US cities are creating dedicated pickleball courts or converting tennis courts to pickleball courts. To convert a tennis net to a pickleball net, it must be lowered two inches (to 34 inches). Another solution is to use rope or tape to draw new lines on the surface – or use portable nets.

How many teams are there in major league pickleball?

Major League Pickleball (MLP) is the latest venture to make the sport more organized and the investment of NBA players will certainly help. MLP aims to expand the league to 16 teams of 12.

During the current season, players will participate in six tournaments for $2 million in prize money. This year’s final tournament, played October 14-16 in Ohio, will have a prize pool of $319,000. It’s the biggest in professional pickleball history.

Each team is made up of four players, two men and two women – the teams being organized by a snake draft.

The MLP isn’t the only competition in the sport. The Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) started in 2019, two years before the launch of the MLP, and banned its players from competing in the rival brand.

How many people play pickleball?

Steve Kuhn, the founder of MLP, said the investment from James and others would be crucial in helping the league achieve its goal of reaching 40 million pickleball players by 2030.

“This is a watershed moment for pickleball in general,” Kuhn said in a statement. “Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country.”

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