Pickleball picking up pace in Eastern Carolina

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States and it can be played anytime, with anyone in Eastern Carolina.

Wimbledon Tennis & Recreation Center is one of the only multisport complexes in the state with dedicated indoor pickleball courts.

The indoor tennis facility used to hold four courts. In March 2022, they transformed three tennis courts into eight pickleball courts.

The sport pickleball is like a smaller version of tennis, but a larger version of ping pong, and it’s gaining a lot of traction here in the U.S.

Retired nurse and teacher Cindy Wooten says it was her friend named Pickles (not kidding) who was the one to put a paddle in her hand.

“She waved at me and said come on up… stuck a paddle in my hand and that was it,” said Wooten. “I went out and bought one the next day.”

The manager of Wimbledon in Greenville, Chris Stewart, said the sport is not only easy to pick up, but he believes it’s going to stick around.

Stewart says the sport’s popularity can be attributed to a number of factors, including the short learning curve and low start-up costs.

“It’s become one of the fastest growing sports basically because it’s easy to learn, it’s fun and very social,” Stewart said. “Within the half hour to hour, you can come out, learn to play the game with everyone else.”

Wimbledon has implemented pickleball cardio classes, has open gyms, and hosts social events like pickleball and ping pong.

There are open gyms Tuesday and Thursday nights for $10 for those wanting to try the sport.

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