For those seeking an alternative way to stay fit and have fun, you might just want to consider pickleball. You may never have heard of it, but the sport has rapidly grown in popularity over the last few years.
Similar to tennis, pickleball is played on a hard floor court with a net between the players. However, instead of a tennis ball, players hit wiffle balls. For the uninitiated, a wiffle ball is a plastic ball filled with swiss cheese like holes and is larger than a tennis ball. And instead of using rackets, players hit the wiffle ball with wooden paddles.
Beyond the differences in equipment, a pickleball court is significantly smaller than a tennis court. Due to the small size of the courts, pickleball games are fast-paced and are often reminiscent of a giant game of table tennis.
Every Tuesday and Friday at 6:30 pm and Sunday at 11:00 am, Kit Snider, a retired PE teacher, brings her own nets and equipment out to on Studebaker Road and South Street in Cerritos. And she always brings plenty of paddles and balls for those who want to join in on the fun.
“Anybody can play, we let everybody play," said Snider.
When asked how she became interested in the sport she replied, “One of my former students emailed me and said they were gonna be competing in a pickleball tournament. They asked if I wanted to come watch.”
Snider eagerly accepted the invitation and was smitten with the sport.
“I came back home, went online, ordered nets, balls paddles and started badgering the city to put lines in for us,” she said.
One of the biggest reasons for pickleball's recent growth in popularity is due to the fact that it is a low impact game. Since the courts are much smaller than tennis, there is less running involved.
“You don't have to kill yourself like tennis,” said Snider. A wiffleball also moves much slower than a tennis ball, making it a little easier to chase."
This sport is perfect for people of any age, but particularly suited for young kids and older adults. One of the regulars at the pickleball games is Barbara Kishiyama, a 64-year-old grandmother.
“I used to watch them play, then I started playing a little bit. I love this game,” said Kishiyama, who brings her grandkids, ages 9, 13, and 14, to play each week.
Snider says she's currently working with the city to try and get more pickleball courts marked out on the tennis courts that are already in use in the city's parks.
If you would like to check out the game of pickleball, don't hesitate to drop by the park and watch a few games. But come prepared, because it won't take long for Snider and the other pickleball enthusiasts to convince you to play a few rounds.