Pickleball in Asheville
Asheville is a place that keeps you busy. There’s so much to do in this town that even if you’ve heard of the racquet sport called Pickleball you may not think to seek it out here. But you should. Like Asheville itself, the Pickleball community is growing, it’s welcoming and it’s downright fun.
The game was founded on Bainbridge Island, Washington in 1965 by three guys who were trying to cure their own kids’ boredom. It worked not only for them but for thousands of others, clearly, as Pickleball is now the fastest growing sport in our country. And as the years and decades have passed, Pickleball has evolved from a backyard game to a sport that features national championships and play around the world.
Some of the allure comes from how easy it is to learn, the quick back and forth points and a court that’s a fraction of the size of a tennis court. While the smaller court benefits an older crowd (read: less running), all ages are having a blast playing pickleball. It can be a social game, too, as doubles is most popular. There are also courts indoors and outdoors so the action continues year round.
Pickleball is played with short paddles and a modified whiffle ball. Games are played to 11 and points are only scored when serving. Unlike tennis where you get a second serve after missing your first attempt, you’re allowed only one serve and it has to be struck underhand from below your navel. Oh, and the first two shots of every point have to bounce. This is known as, you guessed it, the double bounce rule. There are some other rules you’ll want to pick up on, too, but perhaps the most unique aspect of Pickleball is something called “the kitchen”. The kitchen is a zone that extends seven feet back from the net that you cannot stand in and simultaneously hit the ball in the air. This keeps players from completely blanketing the net because you lose the point if you volley in the kitchen. Thus short, low touch shots are constantly in demand until your opponent finally pops the ball up high enough to smash while standing outside the kitchen. It’s perhaps this combination of touch and power that I find most addicting.
There are a variety of places to play and people to play with in town and the surrounding areas. Local player, Rob McKown, says “Asheville is ideal for pickleball, where there’s a nearly-perfect 12 month climate and a healthy number of adults who are still physically able to play sports. By my count, there are 15 or more places to play pickleball around Asheville. This number will undoubtedly grow. Some subdivisions are starting to recognize Pickleball by putting in dedicated courts. A lot of people are retiring to Asheville and what a great way to make new friends, play Pickleball!”
Lastly, because I know you’re curious, I’ll tell you where the name came from. Most people say the game was named after one of the founder’s dogs who was called Pickles. This is the most common name origin story. The other circulating theory is that it was named after the pickle boats in rowing. Take your pick. I just know that it’s fun to play.
If you’re interested in talking about places to live and places to play Pickleball in Asheville please contact me. I’d love to help you in any way possible.
Written by Pete Anderson, Broker, REALTOR. Connect with Pete at [email protected] or (828) 747-9916 to see how he can make buying or selling your home in Asheville easier for you.