by Cassie Mattia

Loveland, Ohio – Sports has always been one of the best ways to both stay in shape and connect on a competitive level with friends and family. Unfortunately, most sports require so much physicality that you have to stop playing once you reach a certain age, but now there is a new sport in town that has NO age limitations and can be enjoyed by absolutely anyone. Introducing Pickleball, a sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and ping pong!

Pickleball got its start in 1965 on Bainbridge Island (close to Seattle, Washington) when 3 fathers, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum, came together to break up the monotony of their children’s typical summer activities. Joan Pritchard came up with the name as a sort of “reference to the thrown-together leftover non-starters in the ‘pickle boat’ of crew races.” Fast forward to 1967, and Pritchard had the first Pickleball court built in his neighbor’s backyard!

By the time 1990 rolled around, Pickleball was being played in every single state in the U.S! Because the game itself was gaining so much popularity in 2005 the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) was formed, and eventually in 2020 became known as USA Pickleball. Now there are currently over 9,000 Pickleball locations across the U.S and over 4.2 million people participating!

So how do you play Pickleball? That’s a question that I needed to both see and hear for myself as I had never even heard of the sport until a few weeks ago! Here is a basic outline of what you need to know to get started “Pickleballing:”

  1. Can be played both indoors and outdoors on a Badminton court (20 x 44) with a modified tennis net in between (34′ in the middle, 36′ outside)
  2. Played with a paddle and whiffle ball (outdoor balls have more holes due to wind)
  3. Can be played as Doubles or Singles
  4. The game is played to 11 and you have to win by 2 (you can only score when you serve)
  5. When the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning, and the serving team must let it bounce before returning (2 bounce rule)
  6. The Non-Volley Zone or “The Kitchen” is within 7 feet of the net and is not to be crossed or it is considered a “fault” (any action that stops play because of a rule violation)

After reading over the basics of Pickleball I knew I wanted to get more of a hands-on experience with experts that had a passion for the game. Jerry Ernst, a Pickleball instructor, and a Cincinnati Pickleball Club member, Kathleen Cupito and her husband John Cupito (avid Pickleball players) met me up at McCoy Park near Downtown Loveland, Ohio to teach me a thing or two about the game of Pickleball!

Without further ado, Loveland Magazine TV brings to you the readers 2 videos, one being an introduction to the game of Pickleball and the other being an interactive on-camera Pickleball lesson featuring Jerry Ernst, Kathleen, and John Cupito, and ME, Cassie Mattia! Now let’s get Pickleballing!

Would you like to play Pickleball? The Cincinnati Pickleball Club is a great place to start! The Club that now has over 900 members offers 1-3 year memberships for $25 per year. The membership includes 52 weekly newsletters, 3 annual tournaments, and 4 annual league sessions. Visit The Cincinnati Pickleball Club’s website to learn more!

Expert Pickleball instructor Jerry Ernst also does private Pickleball lessons! To learn more you can email Jerry or call him at 513-368-4833.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of my LOVELAND MAGAZINE TV interview: The 411 on Pickleball Locations and Equipment!

For more updates on local sports and activities, you can get involved in check-in with your Loveland Salad with ME, Cassie Mattia!

Columnist Cassie Mattia is a resident of Historic Downtown Loveland. She is the Co-Owner, Associate Editor, and Director of Marketing of Loveland Magazine. Contact Cassie if you are interested in promoting your event or business in Loveland Magazine. Cassie also Emcee’s events so feel free to reach out if you are in need of an Emcee for your next event, fundraiser, or sports-related competition. You can also watch more of my LOVELAND MAGAZINE TV videos on our YouTube channel.