Pickleball is the name of the game and it’s booming.

By Bill Higgins | Photography by Derrick Zellmann
Pickleball is a combination of tennis, badminton and ping pong, peculiarly the named was created in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Three fathers looking to give their bored children a new summertime activity are credited with inventing the game, and in recent years it has exploded in popularity.
Eileen Sullivan, a retired educator from East Falmouth, was into pickleball before the sports was in. The game is all the rage these days—the fastest-growing sport in the nation, according to the Fitness & Sports Industry Association—but Sullivan appreciated the fun long before most picked up a paddle. Pickleball’s popularity soared during Covid-19 as the pandemic turned many people into “picklers” wanting to stay active while remaining socially distant. A Falmouth pickleball Facebook page has more than 500 members.
The game is played indoors and out, usually as a doubles game with two players on each side of the net. Quickness and agility are assets, but hand-eye coordination, anticipation and shot placement are just as important.
Baby Boomers have embraced the sport because there’s less running than in tennis and the paddle, smaller and lighter than a racket, is easier to handle. Four pickleball courts can fit into one tennis court. The plastic perforated pickleball doesn’t fly as fast through the air, and serves, hit underhand, are easier to return. 
Baby Boomers have embraced the sport because there’s less running than in tennis and the paddle, smaller and lighter than a racket, is easier to handle. Four pickleball courts can fit into one tennis court. The plastic perforated pickleball doesn’t fly as fast through the air, and serves, hit underhand, are easier to return. 
The cost of a pickleball paddle can range from less than $50 to upwards of $200. A six-pack of balls is about $20.
Places to play are at Nye Park in North Falmouth and Swift Park in West Falmouth.
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