Pickleball: a hybrid racket game for all ages

If you haven’t played pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in North America, St. Thomas University officially has you covered.

The Fredericton Pickleball Club held an exhibition at the J.B. O’Keefe Centre on Sept. 15 after getting its hands on a new set of gear for the game. Four senior players geared up with frying-pan-sized rackets and taught people how to play.

“The nice thing about pickleball is that you can play on a badminton court anywhere,” said Mac Fraser, president of the Fredericton Pickleball club.

“Once the net is set up, and you have the lines there, and you just play with your friends.”

Fraser has been playing the sport for a year-and-a-half. He said the rules are similar to tennis and badminton, but it is easier to pick up for beginners and feasible for any age.

Pickleball is a racket sports combining the elements of badminton, ping pong and tennis. On the serve side, the server needs to make one bounce on the opponent’s field, and it has to bounce one more time on the return. After two bounces, the two opponents can hit the ball freely as long as it is inbound.

“It is a great exercise for people who want to limber up and move the body,” said Fraser.

“We have 174 active members and more than a hundred are playing at least once a week.”

Fraser said those looking to get a sense of the sport before trying it out can hit up YouTube for instructional videos.

Anisha Romany, a third-year student studying Spanish and fine arts, said she found an interest in the new sport after playing for the first time with advanced players from the club.

“It is a lot of fun,” said Romany.

“It is a lot of exercise, too. It is a cool, new sport and I am glad to have the opportunity to try it.”

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