Morning glories, as you read this post, Playing Pickleball, I am away on ‘holiday’. Just love to say that! Sounds so much more exciting than saying I am out of town, don’t you think? We are in Phoenix for a quick 3-day get-away for PC’s happy b’day and to watch the Cincinnati Reds play baseball. My Prince is a die-hard Reds fan so we try to head out for at least a weekend of spring training baseball each year. Most years we drive the Mustang as springtime Arizona is the perfect place for a convertible. But this year we are flying out, which will give us more time actually vacationing.
My sister-in-law Metra and her husband Mark are responsible for today’s Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone post. They are the ones who introduced me – long distance – to playing pickleball. I had never heard of it before they took up the sport. They play for fun but also as a way to battle Mark’s recent Parkinson’s diagnosis. According to Metra, Mark and this online article from the Parkinson’s Foundation:
For people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), exercise is more than healthy — it is a vital component to maintaining balance, mobility and activities of daily living. Exercise and physical activity can improve many PD symptoms.
While I do not have Parkinson’s disease – thank You, God – I am always looking for new fun ways to get more exercise. In high school I played some tennis, continued in college and picked up racket ball, too. But I lost what little ability I had in both sports when I became a busy mom and wife. Tried to return to tennis about 15 years ago (how can it have been that long?) but without much enthusiasm or success. Discovering pickleball has been wonderful!
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How I Started Playing Pickleball
So, Metra and Mark introduced me to the idea of the sport but how did I discover pickleball in El Paso? Decided to do a search online for ‘pickleball in El Paso.’ Ever the research librarian!! Was amazed to learn there are 2 facilities to play. One is within 5 miles of my home! Love when things like that happen. The facility offering lessons, Fiveset Net Sports, is close to the kids’ house across the mountain. So I have combined Cia-sitting with pickleball. Win-win. I signed up online for their month-long beginner’s class.
And went for the first time about 3 weeks ago.
Signing up to play a sport I knew nothing about was a big step outside my comfort zone. Adding to that was the fact that the lessons were being offered in a facility in Sunland Park, New Mexico, an unfamiliar-to-me location about 20 miles from home. And that I knew no one locally who played pickleball. So to start out, I would be meeting up with a group of rank strangers. Scary stuff for this introvert and home body.
My First Lesson
In getting ready for my first lesson I wondered what does one wear to play pickleball? I knew the courts were indoors but that was the sum total of my knowledge going into that first day. Didn’t even know what a pickleball racket looked like. Decided to wear layers. Pulled on this fuzzy neon green sweatshirt over a similarly bright tee and black active wear leggings. Thought my black Nikes would be the best option of the tennies I owned.
Most of the people registered for the lessons were women, my age or a little older. With little or no experience playing pickleball, too. By the end of the first day, I had 3 new friends with whom I exchanged phone numbers.
I have played 5 times now, I think. PC even came along twice. One of my new friends and I are going to start meeting up every Wednesday to play, in addition to the beginner’s academy FiveSet is going to host in March.
A Little About the Game
Have you ever played pickleball? It is something like tennis but on a smaller court with a lower net and played with a solid wooden paddle and a whiffle ball. That hard plastic ball sure doesn’t bounce much so pickleball players – at least novices – do a fair amount of hopping around the court.
The score keeping is a little different, the first team to get to 11 wins. That much I know but am struggling to get the hang of it. It will come. And when you finish a game, all of the players touch tap the ends of their racket handles with each other.
Right now I am just renting a racket from FiveSet but want to get one of my own. Bought this one for PC for his birthday. It has really good ratings.
Apparently, one wears court shoes to play pickleball. I have been playing in my training/running shoes but according to this article, wearing the wrong shoes can be a big mistake. Asics and New Balance are the forerunners in court shoes for pickleball. I am looking at these by Asics or maybe these cutie pink ones by Tyrol made specifically for pickleball. Best I can tell, folks play in just about any kind of active wear. I did see a gal wearing a flirty pickleball skirt yesterday. Look how fun these are.
Which one do you like best? Am I getting too carried away here, just one month in?
Can you tell that I am excited about this new activity? At the prospect of making some new friends, and having another fun way to stay in shape? Even if it has me totally stepping outside my comfort zone.
Have you done anything outside your comfort zone lately? You know it’s good for you. It stimulates your creativity and brainpower. Trying new things can help you to get to know yourself better. Become more confident. Overcome fears. But don’t just take my word for it. Check at these articles by Wanderlust.com and Shape.com.
This weekend I will be enjoying some new experiences and some familiar ones in Arizona. Hope you have something fun planned, too.
Hugs and kisses,