Introduction to Pickleball to be held Tuesday
by Chris Goltermann
Fred Fahy was literally in a pickle — a pickleball pickle.
After moving north from Florida, as much to be closer to family including his granddaughters, one of which Northgate High soccer player Emily Yarbrough, Fahy found himself without access to a lesser-known sport inside Georgia.
So Fahy did the next best thing. He found a way to help bring it to Coweta County.
After obtaining a grant from the United States Pickleball Association for the purchase of equipment and contacting the Coweta Recreation Department, Fahy will host an introductory meeting on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the facility’s gym at the Temple Ave./Hospital Road complex with hopes of seeing the tennis/badminton hybrid flourish in this area as well.
“It’s a great sport. When I got to Florida I was playing golf five days a week until I was introduced to pickleball,” Fahy said. “There would be 12 courts full every day. I didn’t play much golf after that.”
The racquet sport has only been around since 1965, but has become a fast-growing one for several reasons. Like other net games, it can be played outdoors or indoors. It’s look is more toward tennis with players volleying a plastic ball, but at a faster pace and court size fitting badminton. Games are equally quicker (play to 11 and follow volleyball’s win-by-two format) and since court sizes are ? that of tennis, there’s more opportunity for participation - especially since doubles play is common at the recreation level.
The fast-play and smaller court size also keep the game exciting without the stress level that tennis can sometimes bring on joints. Paddles are smaller than tennis racquets and slightly larger than ping-pong paddles while mostly made of wood and graphite ranging as little as $15 up to $75-$80.
“You can play four at a time,” Fahy said. “The courts are smaller, so more people can play at once.”
Fahy had been traveling to LaGrange for the closest games, but finally wrote the U.S. Pickleball Association to see if he could obtain a grant, which covered the cost of equipment.
The popularity of pickleball is high among seniors, though Fahy admits that it’s not just a senior-oriented game. Many physical education programs use it with students since a gym can accommodate three times as many courts than tennis with higher participation levels with four players.
“It’s just a good way to meet people,” he said.