Pickleball is new addition to Berndes Center lineup

Dan Porter prepares to make a shot in pickleball action Jan. 10 in the Berndes Center. The Monticello Parks and Recreation offers the new activity every Tuesday and Thursday. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Steve Williams makes an underhand serve while playing pickleball.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     There’s a new game in town.

     The Monticello Parks and Recreation Department has begun offering pickleball, a form of tennis played on a smaller court with wooden paddles and a plastic, baseball-sized ball.

     Pickleball began Jan. 8, with the Berndes Center set up for two courts, using the lines of the volleyball courts as boundaries.

     “We had a great first day of pickleball,” said Shannon Poe, assistant director of Monticello Parks and Recreation. “I think as more people give it a try, they’ll really enjoy it and perhaps we will be able to establish a league down the road.”

     Bob Goodyear was one of the participants during a Thursday session Jan. 10, playing with Steve Williams and Dave Morgan.

     “It’s a great opportunity,” Goodyear said. “It’s good exercise, and it’s fun. Anybody can do it. I’m happy that parks and recreation is making that available.”

     Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles (two players per team).

     “It’s halfway between ping-pong and tennis,” Goodyear said.

     There are specific rules that separate it from tennis. For instance:

     • The serve must be made underhand.

     • Points are scored only by the serving team. If the receiving team wins the point, it is a “side out,” and that team serves.

     • When the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning, and then the serving team must let it bounce before returning. After that, both teams are allowed to hit the ball before it bounces.

     • The area within seven feet of both sides of the net is called the “non-volley zone,” also called “the kitchen.” Volleying (hitting the ball out of the air without a bounce) is prohibited within that zone.

     The courts are open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in January and February. People can reserve a one-hour time slot.

     “People can also just drop in, but then they aren’t guaranteed an open court,” Poe said.

     Equipment rental is $2 per group for paddles and a ball. One dollar is refunded when the equipment is returned in good shape.



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