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Pickleball picks up popularity, becoming year-round sport in Fargo

It’s a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping pong and only growing in popularity.

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Nicolle Dew, Mary Ann Donnay, Gail Aasen and Carmen Keller play pickleball at Brunsdale Park in south Fargo on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. David Samson / The Forum
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FARGO-- At Courts Plus, Zach Zitur is known as the Pickleball guy.

“I run all our programming here, we have some leagues, we have an intro to pickleball class. I also do individual lessons for people who are maybe getting into the sport,” said Zitur.

Pickleball soared in popularity during the pandemic, the sport now has nearly three million players nationwide.

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“I think it’s easy to pick up. It’s one of those things, where there’s not a very high bar to entry. Something like tennis can be a little bit frustrating because it takes a while for you to even be able to hit back and forth versus pickleball, really the first day you can start doing that,” said Zitur.

Some see pickleball as a relaxing sport, or another way to stay active, just ask LPGA golfer and avid pickleball player Amy Olson.

“It’s competitive, my husband and I can play with my parents and it’s a great game. So there’s this level of you have to be fit and active, but all ages can play,” said Olson.

“My mom introduced me probably four years ago, she started playing with a few of her friends, came home and started talking about this pickleball thing, and we thought “oh mom’s into something new”. Once we started playing, my whole family was hooked. We got Grant hooked, we got his parents hooked, and now pretty much everyone we know introduce it too,” Olson added.

Pickleball is a combination of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Pickleball is played on a tennis court or gymnasium floor, the net is smaller than a tennis court, a wiffle ball is used instead, and you hit with a paddle, not a racket.

“It’s just kind of like an enlarged ping pong paddle. One of the nice things about this is really you can just buy one and be fine. Verus if you play tennis, especially if you're hitting the ball harder, you might obviously break strings. This is obviously solid, so it doesn’t really break,” said Zitur.

But Zitur’s main message, this is a sport anyone can try.

“I think it’s just kind of this snowball effect where people have kind of been playing. I think that’s why it has such a big reach, because you meet people who are younger, but it has also taken off in the retirement community, as something to just kind of do to stay active.” said Zitur.

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Courts Plus begins its indoor pickleball league in late October. You can find how to join a league by visiting this link.

Related Topics: RECREATIONAMY OLSON
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