Getting caught in the kitchen might put you in a pickle – appropriate since the game is pickleball.
With more than 36.5 million players – according to the Association of Pickleball Professionals – and more than 10,700 places to play, pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the country. Chaminade Julienne tennis coach Jim Brooks is doing his part to grow the sport on campus and beyond. Brooks – an avid pickleball player himself – recently taught current Eagles tennis players the basics of the game. There are now portable nets and freshly painted pickleball lines on two courts at the Eagle Tennis Center and a first-time “Pickleball Camp” is slated for June 19-21 at CJ.
“I like the quickness, I like the workout and I like the net game,” Brooks said. “And I also really like the social aspect of it.”
The sport – which was created in 1965 by three dads determined to help alleviate their children’s summertime boredom – has many similarities to tennis, but also several important differences including equipment, scoring and volleying. Players use paddles and a plastic ball rather than the traditional racket and familiar yellow ball. Unlike tennis, there is a non-volley zone in pickleball – commonly referred to as “the kitchen.” Players are not permitted to volley while standing in that area of the court.
“There is a little learning curve,” Brooks said. “But tennis players generally pick up on the game pretty quickly.”
Olivia Parisi ‘25 agrees with her coach. “It’s a lot easier to learn if you know tennis,” Parisi said. “And it’s a lot of fun to play.”
Brooks will offer additional opportunities for his players and potentially their parents to learn the wildly popular game. Those attending CJ Reunion Weekend will also have the opportunity to try their hand at the game on Saturday, June 24 during the traditional Tennis Hit Around event from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the Eagle Tennis Center.