The Pickleball Craze: Part 1

shoulder injury

Although the game of pickleball has been around since 1965, it is now one of the fastest growing sports around.  Indoor and outdoor courts are popping up in cities and towns everywhere, with several within a stone’s throw of our Axes clinic in Festus.  Over the past few years, we have been hearing more about this recreational craze from our patients of all ages who are longing to get back into the game.

You might be asking, “What is pickleball, anyway?”  Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong.  The ball is similar to a Wiffle Ball, but smaller.  The court is the same size as a badminton court, measuring 44 feet long and 20 feet across with a net measuring 34 inches tall in the middle.  The game can be played as singles or doubles.  With a smaller court size and a lighter ball than tennis, there is less ground to cover, and strategy and technique are more important than driving the ball hard.  This is why older players can often hold their own against younger ones.  Pickleball can offer something for everyone, as it can be enjoyed at any level of intensity.  Beyond its physical benefits, many enjoy the camaraderie that goes along with the game.  But, beware, we have heard that once you start, you’ll be hooked!

Check out the action at Jokerst Memorial Park in Festus with FREE lessons starting in May.  No experience required and all necessary equipment will be provided.  Lessons will be from 6-8 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Starting date TBD – contact Jim Berger, the Jefferson County Ambassador for the USA Pickleball Association at, or at 314-960-1787 for more information.

In addition, there are countless pickleball courts, both indoor and outdoor, in Arnold, South County, West County, North County, St. Charles County and in the City of St. Louis. Check out for more information.

Whether you are hitting the court for the first time or are a seasoned player, it is important to warm up properly and stretch in order to maximize your performance and minimize risk of injury.  Look for upcoming posts for more information on specific recommendations.

About the Author: Kelly Uding, PT, MHS, DPT, COMT, is a physical therapist in our Festus location. Having practiced in outpatient orthopedics since 2001, Kelly has since received her clinical doctorate in Physical Therapy and certification as an orthopedic manual therapist. She enjoys staying active and is rumored to be a new pickleball fanatic herself.