The name sounds silly, but the game is no joke. We give you the basics on how to play pickleball, the sport sweeping the country, equally fit for kids and grandparents.

A spirited mashup of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, pickleball has been spreading like wildfire in recent years. Really, you can play it anywhere you typically would tennis – with a modified-sized court that makes it easier to play. So it’s also cropping at Opal resorts where tennis is a big draw, with two courts ready for your dive into the sport as a part of the Samoset Resort’s “Ultimate Backyard” on the coast of Maine.

A Simple Game with Simple Beginnings

Despite its recent rise, pickleball was actually invented decades ago in 1965, when three dads in Bainbridge, Washington, were trying to find a solution to their kids’ summer boredom. Congressmen Joel Pritchard, William Bell, and Barney McCallum set out to create a game that would be as exhilarating as tennis but more accessible to players of all ages. Soon, the kids, the parents, and family friends were in love with the game, and a sport was born. Current estimates put the number of participants across the country in the millions.

Pickleball Rules

Played both indoors and out on a shorter and narrower tennis court, two-person teams serve and volley what looks like a Wiffle ball over the net using a pickleball paddle, a hybrid of a tennis racquet and a ping-pong paddle. Just like the equipment is modified in pickleball to make it more accessible, so too are the rules. You’re required to let the ball bounce once on each side before volleys are allowed, thus stifling tennis’s heavy focus on a powerful serve. The ball is served underhand diagonally, and only the team serving can score points. There’s also a seven-foot no-volley zone on each side of the net. Only the team serving can score points, with the same server continuing until he or she faults. The first side to 11 and leading by two, wins.

Pickleball’s Universal Appeal

For players of all ages, the game is set up for success – truly, the idea that “anyone can play” without an ounce of experience is pickleball’s biggest draw. Younger players and their grandparents can play with and against each other because of the small court and lightweight equipment. Yet, there is certainly skill involved, too, for those who want to get competitive. Once the double-bounce rule has been met and volleying begins, it becomes quite a fast-paced game that’s plenty entertaining.

Pickleball at Samoset Resort

Recreation at the Samoset is ruled by the championship golf course right on the water, but the resort’s Ultimate Backyard cannot be overlooked. Basketball, croquet, horseshoes, badminton, disc golf, shuffleboard – all the equipment and courts are at your disposal. But leave time to give pickleball a shot. On tennis courts three and four, you’ll see the lines for the small but mighty pickleball court. Grab a paddle, and see how you fare at the wildly popular sport taking over tennis courts across the nation.

Samoset Resort