Pickleball Tickles the Hearts of Farmington Players

April 21, 2023

April is National Pickleball Month. Inexpensive, easy to play, and incredibly addictive, it’s the fastest growing sport in Farmington--with plenty of outside and inside courts available. Pickleball is sure-fire local fun for everyone—no matter age or gender. By Donna K. Hewett. This story is sponsored by Pop’s Truck & RV Center and Distil Beer Wine Spirits

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Pickleball is a sport that doesn't really feel like a sport. Inexpensive, easy to play and incredibly addictive, pickleball is the fastest growing sport in Farmington and a surefire ticket to local fun for everyone, no matter age or gender. You're watching the Local News Network, brought to you by Pop's Truck and RV Center and Distil Beer, Wine, Spirits. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. It's appropriate that April should be National Pickleball Month. The nice weather happily brings old and new players by the droves to the lovely outside pickleball courts at Brookside Park in Farmington.

Oh, it's growing so fast. These courts that we're on today, the Brookside Pickleball Courts were opened last June, just a year ago, June, and they're already, we have outgrown the six courts that we have, and so we're hoping we can get more. They're double lining some of the tennis courts for us and we go there. We have some indoor courts and they're being utilized. And you can see today, people are showing up. It's a bright sunny day and we're going to be out here playing pickleball.

Local Erika Arnell is one of the newer players who quickly became hooked on the game.

It's easy to pick up. Me and my husband tried to get into tennis and we are just ricocheting balls to the moon and I feel like pickleball, it's easier to get like a sense of control quicker, get a handle on the ball, and it's fun, it's athletic. You play with friends. You only need four and you can play. We're not trying to get a whole group of 12 together for volleyball or anything. And yeah.

Some consider pickleball just an easy form of tennis but not so fast.

Well, it's a combination of ping pong, badminton, and tennis and it's like tennis that it's played on a court and with a net outdoors, it's lower, but it's like ping-pong because it's played with a paddle and not a racquet and it's like badminton because we score like badminton. You get a score when you are serving and you win the rally.

The sport has more than 4.8 million participants nationwide with a growth rate of about 40% in the last two years. Local pickleball instructor, Keith Bishop explains why he thinks it's become so popular.

I think it's the most social game on the planet. It don't matter what your race, your background, your age, your sex, it doesn't matter. Anyone can play, and you'll see this. We all play with each other and we don't even think about anything but just the game.

Unlike in some communities, Farmington has many locations to play pickleball inside and out, because the city permitted many tennis courts to be multi-use, double lined for pickleball. To find out more about locations and events, go to Northwest New Mexico Pickleball Club's Facebook page. Thank you for watching this edition of The Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.


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