Pickleball is a simple sport, good for mind and body. But don’t overdo it.

Pickleball is suitable for people of all ages and skill levels and is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. Find a court near you.
April 15, 2024
Pickleball's appeal lies in its simplicity, making it suitable for people of all ages and skill levels. It has become one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and has gained international recognition. There are pickleball courts throughout southern Colorado. Photo: Pueblo Parks and Recreation.
Pickleball’s appeal lies in its simplicity, making it suitable for people of all ages and skill levels. It has become one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and has gained international recognition. There are pickleball courts throughout southern Colorado. Photo: Pueblo Parks and Recreation.

Pickleball is a sport that is taking the United States by storm.

It originated in the mid-1960s on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum wanted to find a way to entertain their families and children during the summer. The three dads combined elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong to create a new and accessible racquet sport.

The original version used paddles cut from plywood, a badminton net lowered to 36 inches, and a perforated plastic ball like a whiffle ball. The sport either got its name from the Pritchard family’s dog, Pickles, who was known for chasing after the ball, or from a reference to local pickle boat races held on a nearby lake. Nobody seems to know for sure.

Pickleball’s appeal lies in its simplicity, making it suitable for people of all ages and skill levels. It has become one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and has gained international recognition. Tournaments, clubs, and dedicated facilities have sprung up worldwide, contributing to the sport’s widespread adoption and enthusiastic community. The USAPA (USA Pickleball Association) was established in 2005 to promote and organize the sport, overseeing rules, tournaments, and player rankings.

Safety and health tips before starting pickleball or other sports

Dr. Mark Maurer, a podiatric surgeon with UCHealth Foot and Ankle Clinic – Pueblo, said it is important to consult with your health care professional, such as a doctor or qualified fitness expert before starting any new exercise regimen.

Dr. Mark Maurer talks about safety before playing pickleball.
Dr. Mark Maurer

Pickleball is considered an easy entry-level sport. But for those starting out with limited physical activity, Maurer says it is important to ease into play.

“Being in good condition is important,” said Maurer. “A good warm-up before a game is key, maybe some light cardio, such as jogging around the court, and dynamic stretches for legs, arms and torso.”

Avoid hiking boots, sandals, or flip flops on the court.

“Footwear needs to be appropriate,” said Maurer. “Pickleball has a lot of side-to-side motion. You want a shoe with a thinner mid-sole and an outsole with less tread for more contact with the ground. A tennis shoe or cross-training shoe is ideal.”

If you overdo it on the court in that first game, and end up sore and stiff, Maurer recommends rest, ice, and over the counter anti-inflammatory medicine to manage pain and swelling.

“Don’t go right back out to the court. Give your body a chance to rest and recover and build up your endurance. But if an injury does not resolve after a few days, or if there are problems with instability or putting weight on the foot, then it is time to schedule a visit with a medical professional.”

“Pickleball is a fantastic sport to play,” added Maurer. “It’s a social sport and that is important for mental health. It gets us out, gets the blood flowing, keeps the heart and brain happy.”

Where to play pickleball in southern Colorado?

The Pueblo County Pickleball Association (PCPA) offers a list of court locations and upcoming tournaments throughout southern Colorado. You can also visit the new Mineral Palace Park Pickleball Courts, located two blocks east of UCHealth Parkview Medical Center.

A pickleball paddle and ball about to be served by someone playing pickleball in southern Colorado.
A pickleball serve is underway.

Pickleball is a year-round sport although during the colder winter months, many games will be moved to indoor courts. It is not recommended to play on snow covered or wet courts. Temperatures below 40 degrees can affect the bounce of the ball. If it is windy? Expect some unique trajectories of serves and hits.

In southern Colorado, extended time outside on sunny days (even in cool temperatures) can lead to sunburn, so slather on sunscreen, wear a hat, and bring water to stay hydrated.

Pickleball lessons and free clinics are offered throughout spring and summer and are designed for beginner-intermediate players interested in learning the rules of play and basic skills of pickleball. Instructors will provide guided instruction in the form of drills and games along with the opportunity for match play.

What do you need to play pickleball?

“Not much,” said Clinton Tamada, an ambassador with PCPA. “Good shoes, a good paddle, a pickleball or two, and a good attitude.”

“Anyone can play, and you will have the time of your life,” said Tamada. “When you come out to the court, you become part of our community. We welcome everyone and cannot wait to get to know you. We want to help you get both physically and mentally healthy.”

Pickleball paddles come in a variety of shapes, materials and can be purchased at local sporting goods stores or online. Prices vary.

LIX Pickleball company designs and sells pickleball paddles, accessories and apparel and is located in Pueblo West. Owned and operated by Dylan and Ali Grace, LIX sells pickleball items worldwide.

“Pickleball is one of the few sports that we can play competitively as a family,” said Ali Grace. “The inclusivity is what makes this sport so awesome! You will find players from young kids all the way to 83 plus! It’s truly amazing! Our entire family enjoys the game, and it is a great way for us to get together, exercise and bond with each other.”

Basic rules of pickleball

Pickleball is typically played with either two or four players and the court is similar to a doubles badminton court (20 feet by 44 feet) with a 34-inch-high net.

The game starts with an underhand serve diagonally across the net. Points are scored by the serving side only and occur when the opposing side commits a fault (fails to return the ball, hits the ball out, etc.). The serving side continues to serve until they commit a fault.


Pickleball is usually played to 11 points, and you must win by at least two points. Only the serving side can score, and points are scored on every serve.


The server must keep one foot behind the baseline and serve diagonally to the opponent’s service court. The ball must be struck below the waist, and the paddle must contact the ball below the wrist.

Doubles Play

In doubles, each team member gets one opportunity to serve before the serve switches to the other team. The serving team must win the point to keep the serve, while the receiving team can only score points when they are serving.

Non-Volley Zone (Kitchen)

The non-volley zone, also known as the kitchen, is a 7-foot area on either side of the net. Players cannot volley (hit the ball in the air without it bouncing) while standing in the kitchen unless the ball has bounced.


Learn when to be aggressive and when to play defensively. Try to keep your opponent moving and exploit open spaces on the court. Positioning and shot placement are crucial.

Most Important

Enjoy yourself and have fun.

“The pickleball community is very friendly and most people will be happy to show you the ropes or share information as far as getting started,” Grace said.

About the author

Born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado, Seip graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Southern Colorado and later obtained a master’s degree in education from Walden University in Maryland. After graduation, he started his career in the media industry, working as a news reporter, director and program manager at KCSJ Radio/Pueblo Broadcasters Inc. He then moved into the arts sector, working at the Sangre De Cristo Arts and Conference Center in Pueblo.

His passion for education led him to pursue a career in teaching, spending 20 years in Pueblo School District 70 teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), music and computer science. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he served as the public information officer and assistant director for the Pueblo School District 70 Department of Student Services. Currently, he serves as a communications specialist for UCHealth Parkview Medical Center.

Seip is married to Kerry, a music and STEM teacher in Pueblo School District 70, and is the proud father of two adopted children, both currently attending universities in Colorado.