There is a new net game at the East Hampton Indoor-Outdoor club and it is a fun one for the young and old, especially the old because the court is considerably smaller than a tennis court.
This writer, after attending two clinics given by Vanessa Heroux, one of the club’s young pros, can say he very much likes the paddle and Wiffle ball game, though remains not altogether certain of the rules, which, he has been told, will sink in eventually.
After Saturday’s (8:30 to 10 a.m.) clinic was over, one of the attendees, Summer Louchheim, when asked what she liked about the sport, said, “It’s low-impact, high-cardio, and a total blast.”
“It’s less rigorous than tennis — a great net game,” said another clinic-taker, Amy Ullman, who plays PickleBall on tennis courts in Puerto Vallarta in the wintertime.
“It’s huge in Florida,” said Louchheim, “and kids love it too — all ages.”
She added that PickleBall is being played, as well, in Montauk and at the Blue Point Athletic Club in Stony Brook, where a year and a half ago she discovered it while playing in a tennis tournament there. “I texted Scott [Rubenstein, E.H.I.T.’s managing partner] and suggested he put some courts up, that PickleBall could be a whole new source of income for him.”
There are three of them now behind the club’s indoor tennis building.
As far as I can gather, these are PickleBall’s salient rules:
1. Teams can score only if they’re serving (as in volleyball). Each member of a team must serve and lose an exchange before the ball goes over to the opposing team.
2. The ball must be served from below the waist with the server’s feet behind the baseline.
3. No one may venture into the non-volley zone (or “kitchen”), a marked-off rectangle seven feet from the net, when volleying the ball, though one can enter the area to retrieve dinks that land within it.
4. When the game begins, the ball goes over to the opponents when the serving team’s first server loses an exchange. Thereafter, both members of each team must serve and lose exchanges before turning the ball over. Games are to 11 points, though the margin of victory must be at least 2 points.
5. When the receiving team wins the serve, the player in the right-hand court will always serve first.
6. If the serve rotation is done properly, the serving team’s score will always be even when the player who started the game on the right side is on the right side and odd when that player is on the left side.
Capiche? Well, even if you don’t (and, as I said, I remain a bit vague when it comes to the nuances), PickleBall, which favors quick reflexes, is intriguing.
And also quite inexpensive. The Saturday morning clinics are free to members and cost $20 for nonmembers. Hourly rates are $5 for members, $6.50 for nonmembers.