Pickleball, anyone? Tournament coming to Casa Grande!

CASA GRANDE, AZ - Have you ever heard of Pickleball? It’s been around since the 1960s; but what is it?

It's a cross between tennis, badminton and table tennis. It's played with something that looks likes a whiffle ball and wood paddles. 

"You an literally place four pickleball courts on one tennis court," said Drew Wathey.  

Wathey is helping to head the National Pickleball Championship in Casa Grande this week. It's so popular, 1,400 players are going for the gold.   

Ben Johns just won gold in the men’s 19-plus pro-bracket. It was one heck of a game. 

”It's grueling," said Johns. "It's just so much fast stop and start. It's hard sprints basically."

One thing that can make the game either a little easier or harder is the size of the court. It's really small. 

"The ratio of width to length means we have to be running side to side a lot more," said Johns. "We really have to cover the court."  

Johns has been playing for about a year and a half.  There are other players here though that are double his age — even triple.

The oldest player is in his 80s.

The sport is primarily made up of the older demographic, but there's a push to younger people involved. 

"It's not highly technical at all," said Wathey. "The equipment is fairly inexpensive so it's very advantageous for kids at a young age to start playing and they can play for a lifetime."

 

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