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Pickleball coming to Coal Mountain courts

NORTH FORSYTH — A sport growing in popularity with senior citizens is getting some recognition from local parks officials.

The Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Board on Tuesday voted 3-0, with members Todd Holbrook and Gary Cooper absent, to move forward with painting two tennis courts at Coal Mountain Park to accommodate Pickleball.

Pickleball is similar to tennis or badminton but the ball and rackets are different. The ball is more like a Wiffle ball, while the paddle has no strings and is entirely wooden.

The court is also smaller than the one required for tennis, thus the need to repaint the courts.

Though all ages can play, the sport is particularly popular with seniors, especially those who had previously played tennis. It is less strenuous than tennis and easy to pick up.

“I have played with people from ages 18 to 87,” said Jerry Killinger, who had requested the change to the board. “It’s an easy game to learn … within an hour [newcomers] can be playing.”

As for the unusual name, it appears the sport was named after either the sailing term pickle boat — the last boat in a race — or after the creator’s dog. 

The governing body of the sport, the USA Pickleball Association, states the game is one of the fastest growing sports in the nation. Parks Director Jim Pryor agreed.

“Most parks and recreation people thought it was a fad,” he said. “You have things that come up and they last a little while and then they go away.

“[But] so many of the senior population are picking it up and doing it now that it is not a fad, it has actually been incorporated into The Senior Games.”