Principal Correspondent :
“PICKLEBALL, a racquet and ball game played on badminton size court, is helpful for all-round fitness. It exercises all the major muscles, provides a cardio workout, and improves dexterity, mobility, agility, and balance. The game also serves as a form of high intensity training,” said Rahulkumar Wani, Technical Committee Chairman, All India Pickleball Association. Wani was delivering his speech during the ongoing online Karate and Sports Seminar for Physical and Spiritual Development of the Sportspersons. The seminar is being organised by Karate Budokan International and is hosted by Kyoshi Harish Choube, Black Belt 7th Dan, National Chief Instructor and Examiner, Karate Budokan International.
Wani said that the format develops cardiovascular fitness, which in turn can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, protect against heart disease and diabetes, increase bone density, improve sleep quality. He claimed that pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Besides India, it is played in several other countries like USA, UK, Spain, Germany, Canada, Singapore, Thailand, Netherlands. “Pickleball is a racquet and ball game played on badminton size court. It can be played indoor as well as outdoor. The game originated in the United States of America and is a combination of lawn tennis, table tennis and badminton. The game is easy to learn and can be played by players across all ages. It has huge elements of fitness in it as it offers good vigorous workout without as much stress on joints and muscles unlike the other racquet sports,” explained Wani. Wani said that the game, which was invented by Joel Pritchard, congressman from Washington, reached India in 1999.
“Sunil Valavalkar, founder member of All India Pickleball Association, took a trip to Hope BC in Canada where pickleball was introduced to him by Barry Mansfield. In his next trip to the US in 2006, while playing tennis, Valavalkar reminded of pickleball and noticed the similarity between tennis and pickleball. Valavalkar then founded AIPA in 2007 and started promoting the game. AIPA formally got affiliation from International Federation of Pickleball, USA and from Asia Federation of Pickleball, Singapore. Speaking about the tournaments held in India, Valavalkar said that in last 12 years, AIPA has organised District, State and National level tournaments. The 5th senior national tournament was held in Bengaluru in 2018 where teams from around 15 States participated. “In December, 2019, the 1st Open Ranking Tournament was held at Balewadi in Pune where more than 250 players from various States took part,” informed Wani. “Pickleball can be played in singles or doubles. The ball is served diagonally, starting with the right hand side. The service must be underhand with the paddle contacting the ball in the air below the waist. Players on each side must take their first shot of the bounce.
Once these two bounces have occurred, the ball can either be volleyed or played of the bounce. There is a 7-foot ‘no volley zone’ on each side of the net to prevent ‘spiking’ means no volley shots can be taken inside the no volley zone by the players. The server continues to serve, alternating service courts, until he or she faults. The first side scoring 11 points and leading by at least 2 points wins,” elaborated Wani. Sunil Bhivagade, proposed a vote of thanks.