New game a perfect fit for seniors

Pickleball is the game for people with not much money and too much time on their hands, according to devotee Karen Macleod, 74, of Ipswich. And when she moved back to Ipswich in recent years, she was in something of a pickle finding a place to play the game.

Undaunted, she approached U3A (a community network named from the original ‘University of the Third Age’ that promotes healthy ageing to its members) and created what she believes to be Ipswich’s first pickleball courts which, in the past year, she has watched gain popularity.

“I was used to playing it on the Sunshine coast with U3A where there are 20 courts filled twice a week,” she said.

“The sport is huge and since U3A Ipswich West Moreton started it in 2023, it has already grown from 12 regular players to 20.

Additionally, manager of the Ipswich Indoor Sports Centre Kevin Ala-Outinen said with the U3A’s use of the centre, he too had received enquiries and now he runs competitions and social games each week.

“It’s a good hybrid between table tennis and tennis and an easy game to pick up, especially for beginners,” Kevin said.

“It’s great on lots of levels – for health and fitness, but also a good game for seniors as the courts are small and defined areas of movement are only a few metres each way.”

Karen said she believed the game was ideal for those “rich in years”.

“There is a lot less area for the players to cover and it is not possible to hit as fast as tennis. If there is a ball on the court, the game stops until it is returned and the point is replayed. It’s therefore safer to play for older people,” Karen said.

“If you watch a game of tennis, the players are running from side to side and skidding to a halt. Pickleball is more manageable and very social. There are some members who are competitive but most of the players (U3A) don’t care if they win or lose,” she said.

Pickleball has four players playing on a court the same size as a badminton court. Once 11 points are reached, the victor is the person with a winning margin of two. Most games last about 15 minutes.

The plastic ball has holes in it and the paddle is akin to a table tennis bat but with an amount of ‘give’. Service is underarm and points are lost when a serve is missed, goes outside or into the ‘kitchen’, is played above the waist or not returned.

“If you’ve played tennis, table tennis or squash, you would already have the hand/eye coordination and would find the game easy to play,” she said.

Karen said she was also grateful to Vinh Tranh of Tivity Gifts and Homeware, Ipswich who stocks the paddles and balls and lent U3A equipment to start the local pickleball.

Previous Post
Next Post