A Passion for Pickleball - Q&A with Pickleball Palace Founders

Posted by Kris Pfeifer on


 Bunkybee loves to hear about people passionately pursuing their favorite recreational activities, and we hope that you are inspired by reading about them too! This Q&A session highlights two skilled pickleball players, Sari & Rebecca. Pickleball is America's fastest growing sport, and the pickleball-playing duo realized that with this growing interest in the sport, there weren’t enough places to play in their area. Their company, Pickleball Palace, operates in Chatham, Livingston & Roseland, NJ, and is successfully building interest in the game and bringing pickleball to more people by offering open plays, open houses, sponsored events, clinics, lessons and more. 

My family has enjoyed playing pickleball, after being introduced to the sport by the grandparents, and playing when visiting them in NC, or while vacationing down at the Jersey shore. But we were frustrated that we couldn’t find a place to play pickleball, other than the local oversized tennis courts. We are excited to now have this new opportunity to play pickleball, and I know others will be too. Give it a try!

A young pickleballer in his natural habitat
A brief description for those who are not familiar with the game: Pickleball is played on a smaller version of a tennis court that measures 20 feet wide and 44 feet long. The net is 36 inches high on the ends and 34 inches high in the middle. Both singles and doubles are played within these dimensions. It uses a paddle and ball (both and indoor and outdoor version) specific to the game. The game got its start back in 1965, but I’ve definitely heard more about it lately, because kids now learn it in gym class. It really is a great sport for all ages, and we hope it continues to grow. You can read a history of the game and the theories about how it got it's name (a family dog named Pickles or a rowing vessel??)  here. 
I had some questions for the two, about their interest in the game.

Sari and Rebecca, owners and founders of Pickleball Palace. Photos courtesy of Pickleball Palace.
Q: It’s great that you are creating opportunities to play pickleball in your community. When did you each first start playing the sport, and where did you learn the rules of play?
A: We both come from tennis backgrounds and started playing pickleball about two years ago. Rebecca's parents are avid players down in Florida so they taught us all the rules. We have spent countless hours drilling strokes, playing games, practicing our techniques and teaching others how to play.

Pickleball Palace participants at play
Q: What is something that you really enjoy about pickleball, that you think others would too?
A: What makes pickleball so unique is the social aspect to the game. Not only do players tend to talk to each other between points, but even those who are waiting for their turn to play jump in on those coversations. Games are quick and players rotate partners constantly, so you can show up alone and play with as many as a dozen different people depending on how long you stay. There is a real community that exists among pickleballers. 
Paddle line at a clinic at Pickleball Palace. 

Q: Please share a special moment you have had while playing pickleball, that when you think about it, the memory makes you laugh or smile. 
A: The most special moments have been being on the court playing with our parents, spouses and children. It’s a great game for families and it’s truly a multi-generational sport. 
Q: What have you been the most proud of, or happiest about, in the time that you have been operating Pickleball Palace?
A: We are most proud of our happy customer base. The fact that people come back week after week lets us know that we are doing something right. We are also very excited about launching our kids' programming this month. They are the future of our sport so getting them interested early will only help to grow the sport.

Q: Ok- the name Pickleball is unique all in and of itself. but tell me- what’s the deal with the kitchen and dinks? What are some rules of pickleball play that you think some people may not be familiar with if they assume it is the same as tennis? 
A: The kitchen (also known as the non-volley zone) is a 14 foot long area of the court that runs from sideline to sideline and sits 7 feet on each side of the center net. Unlike in tennis where players can smash balls while standing inches from the net, pickleball players are not allowed to hit a volley out of the air if standing inside of the kitchen. Players may enter the kitchen to retrieve a ball on a bounce but then must quickly retreat out of the kitchen to avoid hitting the next shot out of the air while still inside. Dinks are shots that a player hits when standing at the kitchen line and are intended to be soft shots that land inside of the kitchen on the other side of the net. The purpose of the dink is to take away your opponent's ability to smash a ball back at you by keeping the shot low and inside your opponent's kitchen. 

Q. If you had to pick one piece of advice to someone just getting started in pickleball, what would it be?
A: Don't waste any more time! Go out there and give it a try. Even if you've never played a sport in your life, pickleball is easy to learn and you can be playing games by the end of your first day. 

Q: What do you think the future holds for you as a pickleball player and pickleball business person? Is there anything else you would like to share about your passion for your pastime?
A: We hope that as the sport continues to grow, we will grow as well. 

If you haven’t already, give pickleball a try! If you are in the NJ area, these enthusiastic ladies will show you how. To follow Sari and Rebecca and find out more information about league play, sign up times, and open play at their various locations you can follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pickleballpalacenj/ Or contact them at pickleballpalacenj@gmail.com.

Bunkybee has all the pickleball swag! To view our pickleball products in the Recreation Nation, go to our website!  Or click on the products of links below. 
pickleball long sleeve t-shirt
Pickleball Hoodie                       Pickleball Mug

Yah, we're pretty into Pickleball! In fact it was the first t-shirt designed for the Recreation Nation Collection for Bunkybee.  Pickleball Palace was not paid or perked to participate in this Q&A, and they are not endorsing our products. We are thankful that they agreed to participate in this blog post so that we can share their fun story! If you have ideas for future posts about outstanding people who are passionately pursuing their pastimes, please give us a shout! 
Bee cool! Bee passionate! Bee a Pickleball Player! Bee fashionable in Bunkybee stuff ;)

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