The Sioux Falls Pickleball Club began five years ago in an effort to create more places to play across Sioux Falls. Since then, the club’s seen its numbers dramatically increase.
“Basically had no club and there was probably a dozen of us playing and now we have about 200 members. It just seems to keep growing every year,” Mike Thelen said.
Pickleball combines the elements of other racket or paddle sports. All you need to play is a badminton-sized court, whether it be inside or out, a modified tennis net, a paddle per player and a wiffle ball.
Much like tennis, the serve is made diagonally crosscourt, once it bounces the opposing team can return the serve while the serving team must also let the ball bounce before volleying can begin.
“The hardest part of the game to pick up is quite frankly not a skill, but a mindset, and that’s patience,” Club President Larry Plucker Jr. said.
That mindset comes into play when players approach the non-volley zone, commonly referred to as the kitchen, where quick hand-eye coordination is required.
“You have to really just play what’s called the dinking game up at the net and just wait for the other team to make that mistake and then make that kill shot,” Plucker Junior said.
Points can only be scored by the serving team. Games are typically played to 11, though some tournaments play to 15 or 21, but you must win by two.
“It is so easy to learn for anyone, and very easy to learn for anyone who has any racquetball, tennis, ping-pong or badminton experience ” Plucker Junior said.
The ease of the game has allowed pickleball to become one of the fastest growing sports in the country.
“There’s all different levels, all different ages. We can play with anywhere from a 10-year-old all the way to an 80-year-old. It’s a lifetime sport,” Curtis Wong said.