Introducing Pickleball to Mid-Missouri

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri Tigers were not the only team playing last Saturday. The Columbia Pickleball Club hosted a tournament. The tournament took place in the parking lot of Shakespeare's Pizza to try and attract new members.

The Columbia Pickleball Club was founded by Skip Deming six years ago. The club now has more than 40 members, and it includes people of all ages and skill sets.

Deming said, "The sport has an appeal to all ages, and it's a sport that is easy to learn. You can teach someone to play in 20 minutes. Unlike tennis you don't have the difficult serving motion to learn. the paddle is smaller so small children can handle the paddle better than a big racket."

Deming also said, "The ball moves a little slower than a tennis ball so it gives you more reaction time. The court is smaller so you have less distance to cover. You still get a good exercise workout when you play Pickleball."

According to the United States of America Pickleball Association, "Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America." The USAPA said there are more than 40,000 people playing the growing sport.

One unique part of Pickleball is the serve is different than other sports. The player uses a paddle, and when they serve the paddle has to be below their wrist. Also when the player drops the whiffle ball to serve it, there can only be contact below the waist. 

Rich Geenen said, "It's a wonderful sport that a lot of people can play. young people and old people. We have a lot of people that have played tennis in the past. And for myself for example, I find this game is a lot more fun at this stage in my life."

Deming said, people are attracted to Pickleball because the sport offers competitiveness and leisure to it's player. 

The Columbia Pickleball Club plans on attending more tournaments to get more people involved.