Dave Gordin, left, and Ten Ober play pickle ball at Snyder Park in August. The tennis/pickle ball courts are scheduled to by resurfaced later this year. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

What is ‘pickleball’? Fast-growing sport could be coming to Upper Valley Mall

Upper Valley Mall could be seeing changes soon with potential new developments planned for March.

Although nothing is official at this point, Home Plate Sports Academy announced on Facebook that a sports complex is coming to the shopping center.

One of the sports that the mall could house is pickleball, a lesser-known, but fast-growing paddle sport.

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Pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, according to the website of U.S.A. Pickleball Association (USAPA).

Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized (20x44) court with a modified tennis net and a plastic ball with holes. The court is used for both singles and doubles play.

The first player to score eleven points and lead by at least two points wins the game, according to the website of Pickle-ball, Inc.

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The sport was “created with one thing in mind: fun. It was designed to be easy to learn and play whether you’re five, eighty-five or somewhere in between,” the website of Pickle-ball, Inc. says.

Pickleball was invented in 1965 by Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum - three dads who created a new summertime activity to entertain their children, according to USAPA’s website.

McCallum said that the game was named after the Pritchard’s family dog, Pickles, who would chase and run off with the ball.

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About 15,000 indoor and outdoor pickleball courts exist in the United States.

The sport has become competitive in recent years, attracting more than 2.5 million participants in the U.S., as well as some from Canada, Europe, and Asia.

Home Plate Sports Academy also announced that the mall would also host soccer, baseball, basketball, go karts, and volleyball.

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