New paddle sport gaining popularity in East Texas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

New paddle sport gaining popularity in East Texas

East Texas residents play a game of Pickleball. (KLTV News Staff) East Texas residents play a game of Pickleball. (KLTV News Staff)
East Texas residents play a game of Pickleball. (KLTV News Staff) East Texas residents play a game of Pickleball. (KLTV News Staff)
East Texas residents play a game of Pickleball. (KLTV News Staff) East Texas residents play a game of Pickleball. (KLTV News Staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

For Patrick Houlihan, a retired educator, Saturday mornings are spent on the court.

After undergoing a hip and knee replacement, the former tennis player has turned to pickleball, a less strenuous sport.

"It's a combination of I would say racquet ball, squash and tennis,” says Houlihan. “You're hitting basically a hard whiffle ball with some holes in it with a paddle like a tennis racquet."

Houlihan says the sport is sweeping across the nation, especially for seniors, but it’s an activity people of all ages can enjoy.

Tennis pro Joshua Way has been coaching pickleball for about six months, he says it’s a sport everyone should try.

"It blew up here about six months ago,” says Way. “It’s is a great alternative, with a smaller court, for people who still like tennis and still want to play a paddle sport that don't have to run so far and can still be on the court outside and active."

The game can be played on multiple surfaces, but experts say the best place is a modified tennis court.

“To get it pickle ball ready we just laid down tape,” says Way. “Then its pretty much good to go."

The pickleball community has been pushing the City of Tyler to install public courts marked especially for the game. Since Tyler is a certified retirement community, city officials say they too see the need. 

“Were looking at one of the courts at our parks being turned into a pickle ball court,” says Russ Jackson, the Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Tyler. “You can't do all of the courts because there's different markings for tennis and it really conflicts with the sport.”

The city says parks such as Bergfeld and Fun Forest may be home to pickle ball courts in the future.

On March 24, the very first pickleball tournament in the City of Tyler will take place at the Cascades Country Club. To register, contact the tournament's director by email. Csinger@cascadesoftexas.com

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