Sports Take: Why pickleball has emerged as Baylor students’ go-to sport

The McLane Student Life Center is one of two popular spots where Baylor students like to play pickleball. Cal Logan | Reporter

By Cal Logan | Reporter

We all know and love the revenue sports like football and basketball, but pickleball has become a popular sport to play, especially among college students. It’s easy to learn and great to play with friends, and it doesn’t require God-given talent or athleticism in order to perform at a high level.

Don’t believe me? Listen to these testimonials from Baylor students.

“Pickleball is super accessible,” Waco freshman Matthew Shirley said. “The barrier for entry is so much lower than similar sports. A paddle and ball is all you need.”

Pickleball is a sport that truly anyone can get the hang of. Whether you’re a professional or a novice, you can have a great time playing.

“My favorite part is the competition,” Hartford senior Jack Anderson said. “Anyone can play, do well and have a ton of fun.”

Baylor’s campus has two main locations to play pickleball. The McLane Student Life Center requires a simple swipe of your Baylor ID. The SLC will provide pickleballs, rackets and an official outside court. This is a great location for those more competitive players, like Spring senior Isaiah Lopez.

“My first time ever playing pickleball, I did not lose a single game against my friends, because I am competitive and don’t like losing,” Lopez said.

For the more casual player, the bottom row of the Penland tennis courts has been converted to pickleball courts. The nets are at standard tennis heights, and pickleballs and rackets are not included, but it is a great option for conversation and late-night hangouts.

”I can certainly get competitive, but my favorite memories of pickleball were just friends hanging out with pickleball on the side,” Shirley said.

One downside to the recreational sport that is taking over the world is that the rules can be confusing for beginners.

“The rules can be a bit complicated, but when I play, we don’t hold to super strict rules, so we were able to mess around and have a lot of fun,” Shirley said.

For those wanting to know the basics of the rules of pickleball, here are some pointers for doubles play.

  1. Serve to the opposite side to you (right serving to left, left serving to right).
  2. The point system works like this: Serving team’s points first, receiving team’s points second, server one or two listed last. For example, 6-4-2 — six being the serving team, four being the receiving team, two being the second server.
  3. Do not enter the kitchen! This is the rectangle close to the net. You may only step foot in the kitchen if the ball lands there.

There are a few more rules, but those are the big three. If you understand them, you can have success.

”Maybe I’m not addicted yet, but I really like playing and have withdrawal symptoms when I haven’t played in a while,” Anderson, who plays about once a week, said.