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Pickleball has KG YMCA members jumping for joy

It’s ping pong on steroids, with the benefits of physical fitness, and an addictive fun aspect. Welcome to the world of Pickleball, the newest recreational sensation for youths to seniors that will have your body feeling vibrant and rejuvenated.


Available since February at the King George Family YMCA, Pickleball has everyone singing its praises. The game is similar to ping pong, where players use wooden racquets and a large plastic whiffle ball.

Schedule
Mon - 5:30 to 7 p.m. •
Tues.,  Thurs. - 10:45 a.m. 12 noon
 • Saturday by appointment with the director on duty.



The format used is comparable to tennis, where two or four players can play. Thrilled by the overwhelming response from YMCA members, King George YMCA Executive Director Elizabeth Clark said, “All of the muscles’ memory aspects of good cardiovascular health are in the game of pickleball. You’re moving around the court all the time, and your heart is beating rapidly.”

Imagine getting a full workout with the benefit of having fun. While some people shy away from a workout after a long day at work, pickleball will allow the most ardent workaholic an outlet to unleash their innermost desire to compete, while strengthening their leg and arm muscles. “A lot of us don’t move backward or side-to-side,” Clark said. “As you get older, your muscles’ memory is not as good as it normally should be. The game teaches your body to pick up your feet, so that you can walk backwards.”

After witnessing seniors enjoying pickleball at another YMCA, Clark introduced the game to the King George YMCA in February. Amazingly, the game has caught on in places as far away as Florida. “After I brought the game here, everyone loved it,” Clark said. “I have a regular group that comes in all the time.”

Unlike tennis or racquetball, where the ball is moving at a fast rate of speed, pickleball is slow enough for anyone to react with a swift return on the ball. After visiting the YMCA with a family member, 17-year old King George resident Michael Parker immediately became addicted to the game. “It’s a very fun game, and I’ve played the game over ten times already—I really like it,” Parker said.

After observing YMCA members flock to the facility’s newest attraction, King George Wellness Director Gary Roach said, “It’s a good eye-hand coordination game using a whiffle ball, which does not bounce very well. It allows the players to hustle and retrieve the ball, while having fun.”

Played on the YMCA basketball courts, the sport has attracted members in their teens to their 80s. The game is open to everyone, including YMCA Summer Camp kids.

Currently, the game is available on Mondays from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Tuesdays, and Thursdays, from 10:45 a.m. to noon, and on Saturdays by appointment with the director on duty.

 

Leonard Banks
Sports editor

 

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