San Francisco is one of the world’s most outdoorsy cities, and with that comes abundant interest in sports. One sport that’s growing in popularity, both in the Bay and internationally, is pickleball! This fun and accessible sport is a mix between tennis, badminton, and ping pong, and there are plenty of places in SF where you can try it out for yourself.
SF Rec & Parks has significantly increased the number of pickleball courts around the city in response to growing interest in the sport. Here’s a handy map of locations, but hours and reservation requirements vary, so be sure to check before heading out. You can find more details at the SF Rec & Parks website.
Pickleball was invented by 3 dads in 1965, who improvised the badminton-esque game as a way to entertain their kids on a hot summer day. As such the game is family-friendly and simple to learn, but can easily turn competitive! Pickleball paddles are lightweight and larger than a ping-pong paddle, but smaller than a tennis racquet. Balls are hollow with holes in them, similar to a whiffle ball.
You can play pickleball as both a doubles or a singles game, although doubles is more popular. Games go to 11 points (win by 2), although tournament games are often played to 15 or 21. The ball is served diagonally crosscourt with an underhand stroke, and must bounce once before the receiving team returns it, and once when the serving team returns it.
After the two-bounce rule, players are permitted to both volley the ball and hit groundstrokes. Points may only be scored by the serving team, whose first server continues serving between the left and right sides until a fault is committed. The serving team’s second player then follows suit until another fault is committed. After 2 faults from the serving team, the serve is then turned over to the receiving team.
Learn more about pickleball’s history, rules, technique, and equipment at the USA Pickleball website.
Featured image: Photo by bhpix via Shutterstock