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But there are unique rules. ….

But there are unique rules. …. But there are unique rules. ….

But there are unique rules.

Like tennis, the serve must go diagonally crosscourt, but there are no double faults. Serves must be made underhand and must bounce. The return shot must also bounce before players may volley (hit the ball before it bounces) or hit ground strokes (play it after it bounces).

In doubles play, only one player serves for each team on the first rotation, but after that both players serve before the serve goes back to the opposing side.

There is a no-volley zone called the “kitchen,” which covers the 7 feet closest to the net on each side of the court. Any play made on the ball there has to come off a bounce.

Points are only scored by serving teams, like volleyball used to before rally scoring. Games are normally played to 11, win by two, though some tournament games may go to 15 or 21, win by two. Balls that hit boundary lines are considered to be in bounds.

An official pickleball court is 44 feet long and 20 feet wide, divided by a 36inch high net. The tennis nets at Medford Area Senior High are slightly higher than that, otherwise the two courts are marked to typical pickleball dimensions. The two service areas on each side of the court are 15 by 10 feet.

Members of the Medford group said a small investment is all that is needed to get you started in pickleball and, of course, you can work your way up if the game gets its hooks in you. Balls only cost a few bucks, and there are indoor and outdoor varieties of those. Low-end wooden paddles can be found for $10-$20. Quality graphite and composite paddles for those who are serious about the game get to $100 to $150 and some high-end models even approach $200. If you don’t have a place to play, a basic portable net may cost $100-$150.

Conn recommended court shoes, rather than basic running-style tennis shoes. In case you were wondering, pickles have nothing to do with the game. According to the USAPA website, there is some debate as to where the strange name came from. The three dads who invented the game were Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum. The website states one story is that Pritchard’s wife, Joan, started calling the game pickleball because “the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.”

The other story is that McCallum named it after the Pritchards’ dog, who would chase the ball and run off with it. The dog’s name was Pickles.

If you are interested in learning more about the game or getting some lessons, Zuleger and Sally Lemke would be the members of Medford group to contact. More background can be found at usapa. org and videos on the sport abound online.

Laura Zuleger plays a ball off a high hop during some friendly doubles competition.PHOTOS BY MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS