Touted as a cross between tennis, badminton, and table tennis, pickleball is a rising sport in Australia. With new pickleball courts popping up all over the place, this low impact sport is a social game all families can enjoy together.
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What is Pickleball?
Invented in 1965 by three men from Bainbridge Island, United States, pickleball, as the name suggests, is a ball sport. But it does not involve pickles!
Using a paddle and a plastic ball, players (either singles or doubles), play on a hard surface, hitting the ball back and forth over the net until there is a winner.
Like tennis and to some extent chess, pickleball requires a combination of tactical shots, easy to learn strokes and patience.
How to Play Pickleball
Pickleball is played on a hard surface, with lines marked to show where the court is and the field of play.
Played either indoors or outdoors, the court is similar to that of a tennis court, though much smaller and without the alleys. The court is approximately 13.41m long and 6.1m wide.
A tennis-like net is positioned across the centre of the court, with players required to hit the ball over the net.
The server must stand behind the baseline and use an underhand stroke when serving. Furthermore, the server must make contact with the ball below the waistline, with the paddle head below the wrist joint.
The serve is aimed diagonally crosscourt and designed to be played by the opposition, rather than an un-returnable shot.
Scoring in a game of pickleball can seem a bit confusing at first, and we won’t go into all the details here, but you need to be aware that unlike many other games, you can only score a point when you are serving.
Scoring for a game of singles will differ slightly to a game of doubles, though playing doubles appears to be the more common way to play.
To add another unique twist to the game, players are encouraged to call out the current score before each serve, so everyone is well aware of the score at all times.
In regard to winning, the first side to reach 11 points, and at least 2 points ahead of their opponent, is the winner.
Equipment Required to Play Pickleball
To play a game of pickleball you will firstly require a court, either indoors or outdoors, a net, paddle and ball.
Each player will require a paddle, used to strike the ball. Paddles come in a variety of sizes and weights and can be made from different materials such a graphite, fibreglass and carbon fibre.
As with any sporting equipment your skill, price range and individual needs will dictate which paddle you select. To see what is the right fit for you, head to your nearest sports store.
Balls used for a game of pickleball differ slightly, depending on whether you play indoors or outdoors, but basically, they are a hollow, plastic ball with air-flow holes in them.
If you are new to pickleball or are thinking of taking up the game, then perhaps you should brush up on the lingo commonly used around the pickleball court.
- Dink Shot/Drop shot: A soft shot which lands in the non-volley zone.
- Kitchen/Non-volley Zone: The front area (~2.13m from the net) of the court on either side of the net. When standing in this area, volleying in not permitted.
- Paddle: A bat players hold to hit the ball.
- Pickle: A word a player calls out to let the other players know they are about to serve.
- Pickled: A term used to describe a team if they have scored zero points by the end of the game.
- Pickler: a person who is a pickleball fanatic/addict
Benefits of Playing Pickleball
Like many sports, pickleball is a form of exercise. The activity level of players will of course vary depending on their skill, age and opponent, but generally pickleball is a good form of aerobic exercise.
Health benefits of playing a sport like pickleball could include the regulation of blood pressure, increased hand-eye coordination, improved lung function and blood sugar level control.
Due to the nature of the sport (requiring as least one other player and sometimes three extra players if playing doubles), pickleball is considered a social sport. In addition, it’s a great way to meet new friends and socialise with established friends.
Where to Start
When taking up any new sport the best thing to do is to contact a local association or speak with someone you know who already plays the sport. A quick internet search can also let you know what to expect and give you extra details on game rules and where the nearest competition is.
If possible, keep an eye out for free trials, so you can try out the sport without committing financially.
Where to Find Pickleball Courts in Brisbane
Pickleball courts are popping up all over the place, usually at existing playgrounds and in sporting precincts. They can also be found at a number of indoor sports centres and tennis centres.
What you may not realise is that there are already several pickleball courts available around Brisbane. Sometimes they may not be immediately obvious, but often there are appropriate markings on multi-use courts, you just have to know what you are looking for.
If you play on a public pickleball court, you will be required to provide all equipment including a net. Alternatively, when utilising an indoor sports centre or tennis centre, nets are often provided. Other equipment can usually be hired for a small fee, but please check with your local venue to see what’s required.
Existing pickleball locations (free for public use):
- Boondall – Mulbeam Park – three courts within multi-use court
- Holland Park West – Joachim Street Park – three pickleball courts
- Nundah – Boyd Park – one court within multi-use court
- West End – Davies Park – two courts within multi-use court.
New pickleball courts to be delivered by Brisbane City Council in 2023/24:
- Newmarket – Enoggera Creek Sport and Recreation Precinct
- Parkinson – Greenways Esplanade Park
- Seventeen Mile Rocks – John Magee Park
- Wakerley – Sheriff Park
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said Brisbane City Council will be delivering four new pickleball courts (as listed above) to cater for pickleball’s growing popularity in Brisbane.
“We’re investing in these new suburban courts to provide more ways for residents of all ages to stay active and healthy,” Cr Schrinner said.
“Pickleball is a fun and fast-growing sport that is a cross between badminton and tennis with more than 6000 people already playing pickleball across Brisbane.”
Venues Offering Regular Pickleball Sessions
The following venues (indoor and outdoor) have pickleball courts, with new and beginner players welcome. There is usually a fee associated with attending these venues, and bookings are often required. Contact the centre you are interested in for further details.
Albion – Albion Indoor Sports Centre
Boondall – Nudgee Tennis Centre
Brendale – South Pine Sports Complex Indoor Centre
Bribie Island – Bribie Island State High School
Mitchelton – Mitchelton State High School
Morayfield – Morayfield Sport & Events Centre
Nundah – Toombul Indoor Sports Centre
Redcliffe – Focus Tennis Academy
Redcliffe – Redcliffe Tennis Centre
Samford Village – Samford Community Centre
The Gap – The Gap Tennis Club
Wooloowin – Shaw Park Tennis Centre
South Brisbane and Logan
Beenleigh – Beenleigh Tennis Centre
Chandler – Sleeman Sports Complex
Coorparoo – Brisbane City Indoor Sports
Crestmead – Logan Leisure Centre
Inala – PCYC Inala
Kangaroo Point – Hiit Fiit
MacGregor – MacGregor State School
Moorooka – Rise Tennis
Nathan – Queensland State Netball Centre
St. Lucia – UQ Sport Tennis Centre
Redlands and East Brisbane
Ormiston – Ormiston State School
Thorneside – Thorneside Community Tennis
Wellington Point – Wellington Point Tennis Courts
If you know of a pickleball court not listed above, please let us know, so everyone can enjoy playing pickleball in Brisbane.
Learn More About Pickleball
Playing pickleball is a fun, social sport which can be enjoyed by people of all ages. For further information visit the following places: