Pickleball comes to Eglin

  • Published
  • By Kevin Gaddie
  • Team Eglin Public Affaris

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 96th Force Support Squadron added pickleball to its variety of sports activities with a grand opening Oct. 20.

Pickleball, called the fastest growing sport in the U.S., combines elements of tennis, ping pong and badminton.  It provides people with another way to stay active and enjoy friendly competition regardless of age or skill level.

Six new pickleball courts at a cost of $63,000 are located at the tennis courts at Bldg. 11175, next to the Thrift Shop near the West Gate.

“Thanks to the 96th FSS leadership for listening to its Airmen and for bringing the newest, most exciting sport to Eglin,” said Col. Tassika Davis, 96th Mission Support Group commander.  “This innovative project brings a fresh avenue of healthy activity and adds a new dimension to mission readiness.”

Anyone with base access can make pickleball court reservations at the Fitness Center for play during the duty day.  Reservations are for one-hour periods.  After the duty day and on weekends, courts are available on a first-come, first served basis.

“We encourage anyone with base access, and their families, to utilize the pickleball courts,” said Master Sgt. Nikita Chapman, 96th FSS fitness and sports section chief.

Like tennis, pickleball is played either as singles or doubles.  Doubles is the most common.  The same size playing area and rules are used for both singles and doubles.

Among other USA pickleball rules, only the serving player or team can score points.  When the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning, and then the serving team must let it bounce before returning, thus two bounces.

After the ball has bounced once in each team’s court, both teams may either volley the ball, or hit the ball before it bounces; or play it off a bounce as a ground stroke.

The two-bounce rule eliminates the serve and volley advantage and extends rallies.

The non-volley zone, known as “the kitchen,” is the court area within seven feet on both sides of the net.

Volleying is prohibited within the non-volley zone. This rule prevents players from executing smashes from a position within the zone.

It is a fault if, when volleying a ball, the player steps on the non-volley zone, including the line and/or when the player’s momentum causes them or anything they are wearing or carrying to touch the non-volley zone including the associated lines.

It is a fault if, after volleying, a player is carried by momentum into or touches the non-volley zone, even if the volleyed ball is declared dead before this happens.

A player may legally be in the non-volley zone any time other than when volleying a ball.

Games are played to 11, 15 or 21.  A player or team must win by two points.

For more information, call 882-6223.