It’s one of the fastest-growing sports internationally.
Now pickleball has its first official club right here on Leeside and anyone can join – no sports background or experience necessary.
Inaugural Rebel Pickleball Chairman Terry O’Sullivan says the sport is open to newcomers of any ability, once they’re over 18:
“In my life, I’ve played a lot of sports: from football and hurling to things like tennis, hockey, and cricket, and I’m always on the lookout for new sports to try,” he told us.
“A friend showed me a video of pickleball, and a few things immediately jumped out at me. First, the game seemed simple enough – easy to follow the flow of a match, how it worked, things like that, and it looked like a lot of fun.
“Second, the range of ages and fitness of the people in the videos,” Mr. O’Sullivan continued, “and these were matches at a high level, but it really seemed like a game that anyone could pick up, at any point in their life, and really enjoy.”
‘You get a really good workout in.’
A 2022 Time Magazine article backed up Mr O’Sullivan’s intuition, quoting a survey done by the American Sports & Fitness Industry Report revealing that more than half of the sport’s core players were over 55 years old.
“You get a really good workout in,” Mr O’Sullivan added. “As much as you would with any racket sport. But because the court is small, and popular tactics would mean the game is based around fast-paced rallies back-and-forth, there isn’t as much sprinting, and the nature of the paddles means that the game is relatively low-impact on your joints.”
If you’re not necessarily a sporty person, you’ll be in good company:
“What’s really been remarkable so far is the variety of backgrounds of the people coming to the sessions.
“There have been people looking for a way to keep fit and active, people who are absolute tennis aces looking to give another sport a go, people who haven’t played a sport in twenty years – and the games have been so competitive,” O’Sullivan added.
“You can really see why it’s been so successful in places like the United States and Europe, and we’re excited to see how far we can take it in Cork.”
Want to get involved?
Rebel Pickleball holds sessions every Wednesday evening in Inniscarra Community Centre in the Ballyanly Sports Complex. Equipment is provided for newcomers and you can search Rebel Pickleball on Facebook, or email RebelPickleball@gmail.com to join in.