EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

May 2, 2014

Pickleball takes off in Granite State

Pickleball is a popular sport for all ages

PLAISTOW — Move over, tennis. There’s a new ball game in town.

As senior citizens return from their seasonal southern migration, pickleball is picking up steam throughout the region.

Pickleball is a sport where two or four paddle-wielding players volley a hole-filled ball over a net. It’s played on a court about the size of a badminton court and can be played outdoors or inside, wherever a hard surface and net are at the ready.

A growing number of people are playing it in Plaistow, Manchester, North Hampton, Haverhill, Andover, Mass. and more.

Between 30 and 40 players, many of them senior citizens, play on indoor courts at the Plaistow Community YMCA on Plaistow Road. They play every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning.

“It’s an addictive, fun game to play, and we have a good group,” said East Kingston resident Bob Hohman, 77. “We’ve gone out for meals together.”

Many who get involved with pickleball do so for medical reasons. Some are crossovers from tennis, according to Seabrook resident Tucky Dube, 75.

“A lot of people came to this because they’ve been injured playing tennis,” Dube said. “It just isn’t as much lateral movement.”

Others do it for the low-impact exercise the game provides.

“I’ve had too many medical problems and I was looking to exercise and keep on moving,” Plaistow resident Iris Warren, 60, said. “It’s more social and a good workout.”

Some do it for the social aspect. The Plaistow group has done everything from play games to gather off the court for Christmas, Hohman said.

Over time, the group has grown.

“We see more and more,” said Ryan Allen, the Y’s director of operations. “I’ve worked for the YMCA for 13 years. I haven’t seen something quite like this.”

But don’t be fooled by the players’ ages. Young people are getting in on the game as well.

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