Mary Barsaleau is pickleball columnist for the eudesertsun.com, a news website serving the community around the western fringes of the Joshua Tree national park, about 100 miles due east of Los Angeles.
The Burning Question
Being an accomplished player herself, she recently asked the burning question “Why is Pickleball so addictive?”
She says that several of her students have asked her that question and it got her thinking.
Here is what she says:
- It is more straightforward when it comes to mastering the basic side of the side, making it easier to become competitive compared to racquetball, tennis, badminton, or squash. This simplicity is why is she has been teaching pickleball in physical education classes since the 1980s, rather than tennis.
- It is very social! Not as intense as tennis.
- It is very welcoming. Just watch these videos:
- It is an equalizer – older players can compete with youngsters if they play wisely.
Mary gives some more reasons for people making pickleball their sport of choice:
Pickleball brings back the nostalgia of playing games like Dodgeball in P.E., as it involves smacking a ball, evoking a youthful spirit and making you feel like an athlete again.
It provides an excellent option for individuals with physical limitations such as knee issues, arthritis, shoulder problems, vision limitations, and balance challenges. For them, participating in sports like tennis might not be safe, but Pickleball offers a suitable alternative.
Golf, known for its slow pace, difficulty, and expense, has been surpassed in excitement by Pickleball for some seniors. Discovering Pickleball has led to a renewed and thrilling retirement experience for them.
Many sedentary adults who dislike traditional workouts or struggle to find a consistent activity have now embraced Pickleball. They eagerly look forward to playing daily, leading to improved well-being, weight loss, increased motivation to socialize and progress, and plenty of laughter along the way!
Mary does stress that although the sport is not a dangerous one, incidents can happen as reported in this Tweet:
What Do Other People Think?
Mary asked some of her students the question. This is how they replied:
Molly: “I feel like, even if I don’t execute the shot properly, I am almost there. I know what I need to do. It is almost like it is a part of my self-awareness.”
Eduardo: “I get to play with my sons, and I can still compete with them.”
Kelly: “It is so fun to meet new people when we play. After COVID, we were so shut down, and now I can meet new peeps because we share the love of Pickleball!”
Carol: “Tennis is too hard on my body now, but since the court is smaller, I can compete in Pickleball!”
David F.: “I may have nothing in common with the other players at a venue. We are different ethnic groups, different genders, different lifestyles, different political affiliations, different economically. Pickleball brings us together because it is something we have in common.”
A Few Of Mary’s Tips
Mary says she is often asked, “Should you use a one-handed or two-handed backhand in the no-volley zone?”
Here is her advice:
- More power
- More stability when the ball is to the side.
- Utilize our left hand and be maneuverable.
- Get a quick swing through the ball.
- You cannot reach as far with two hands as with one hand.
- You can reach further into the kitchen with a one–hander than a two-hander.
She describes the major downside of the two-hander as follows:
“If the ball is coming into your body, it is more difficult to block with the two-hander. The one-hander makes it easier to slide our elbow out, to avoid the ‘chicken wing.’
“Ideally, you will try to incorporate both techniques into your Pickleball Toolbox.”
To sum up:
- When the ball is on your outside, the two-hander is a better choice.
- When the ball is hit at your body, use the one-hander.
She always notes that you should sign-up online on the Desert Recreation District website for the July 30th Indoor Round Robin at Civic Center Park.
We have created several other great articles that explore the benefits of playing pickleball.
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