ymca pickleball

Pickleball: Fun For All

Have you heard of Pickleball? It’s a paddle sport that’s becoming one of the fastest-growing sports in the country! It was invented by Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. It was created after an attempt to find a way to entertain kids on lazy summer afternoons on Bainbridge Island, Washington, in 1965. While the sport didn’t get its name from pickles, it derived its briny name from Pritchard’s dog, Pickles! Thanks to them, we can all relish the great paddle sport of Pickleball. Several of our facilities offer this sport to members including the East Shore, Friendship, West Shore, and Northern Dauphin County YMCA.

Our staff at the Northern Dauphin County YMCA asked Brian Betsworth, one of our volunteers and Pickleball-enthusiasts, a few questions about his favorite sport:

What is Pickleball?

“Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America. It combines elements of badminton, tennis, and ping pong. To put it simply, it involves using a paddle made of solid wood or composite material to hit a modified Wiffle ball over a net that’s not quite as high as a tennis net. It can be played indoors, outdoors, on tennis courts, or anywhere else that can accommodate the portable net.”

How long have you been playing Pickleball?

“I first heard about Pickleball this summer while visiting my mother in Maine. I used to play other racket sports, like tennis, so this was great for me. The court is small and the game is not as physically taxing as tennis. Yet, as you begin playing, you find that it is surprisingly good exercise.”

Do you need to have any experience with Pickleball to participate?

“No, almost anybody can learn to play Pickleball! People of all ages, 8 to 88, pick it up and play enthusiastically.”

Why have you chosen Pickleball as your sport of choice?

“I just found that it is so darn fun! I love the recreational aspects of the game and it can become very competitive for those who wish to improve and compete. There are many tournaments, up to and including professional levels.”

What is your favorite thing about Pickleball?

“Pickleball is a social sport where one makes new friends quickly and easily. It is a great exercise that helps people get up off their couch and become physically active again. Pickleball helps people become healthier and happier. Come and give it a try — then go start playing with others everywhere else!”

Besides a ringing endorsement from Mr. Betsworth, why else should you give Pickleball a try? Pickleball offers a variety of mental and physical benefits! For starters, it can help ward off depression as well as improve your fitness levels. Its low-impact aerobic exercise can get your heartbeat going without a high risk of injury. Games usually last up to 15 minutes, so frequent breaks make it easy to keep your stamina up. Even better, it’s incredibly easy to learn! Many long-time tennis players have forgone the difficult sport to become a devoted pickler.

The Harrisburg Area YMCA and its ever-growing SilverSneakers® member circle has developed time slots at several branches to make sure members have the opportunity to play this fun sport as much as possible. Visit our Schedules Page to find out when Pickleball is available near you!


Madeline Kelly, Digital Communications Coordinator

Want to stay up-to-date with
the latest exciting news and fun events?