In Suzi's Words

A little bit of laughter, inspiration, & encouragement

Lower the Tennis Nets….


Flickr_Hiestun_tennis netRiddle: Which sport provides a super workout, makes your face ache from `so much smiling, sounds like something you find in a lunch bag, and is similar to tennis, Ping-Pong, and badminton all at the same time?

Answer: Pickleball! As the fastest growing sport in the U.S., Pickleball is played on a tennis court utilizing the same dimensions as a doubles badminton court. The net is dropped two inches lower than regulation tennis nets, and tennis racquets and tennis balls are replaced with a hard Ping-Pong style paddle and a whiffle ball.

Meet Pat Carroll

Tennis and Pickleball Playing Powerhouse

Tennis player extraordinaire, Pat was once ranked No. 25 in the U.S. on the National Senior Circuit, women’s singles. At age forty, Pat began a career as a certified teaching pro for USPTA full time and was recruited to California from Iowa.

It was during her travels on the national tennis circuit, in 2002, that Pat was bitten by the Pickleball bug and began playing recreationally.


Photo courtesy: Pat Carroll

For Love of the Game

After a year of playing Pickleball, Pat pleasantly found she had become more physically fit and her tennis game had improved; she became quicker on the court and more responsive to the ball, “which goes to prove, you don’t have to give up one sport for the other, as Pickleball will enhance your tennis game.”

However, walk away from the game of tennis she did, and has played her way up to the highest rating given in the sport of Pickleball by the USA Pickleball Association – 5.0.

Pat’s love for coaching, experience as a USTA tennis professional, and command of the game through years of study and research into the similarities and differences between Pickleball and Tennis, soon had her recognized as a qualified Pickleball teaching pro.

Headquartered at Melba Bishop Recreation Center in Oceanside, CA, Pat’s Picklosophy, has provided private lessons, group lessons, and clinics for the past three years. I have had the privilege of taking Pickleball lessons from Pat and her coaching style is fun, thorough, and most importantly, patient!

The How, When, and Where of It

Since its inception in 1965, Pickleball has become widely known across the United States, Canada, Singapore, and India. Statistics quoted by the USA Pickleball Association, estimates there are more than 100,000 active players in the U.S. alone and more than 5,000 players throughout Canada.
The game was conceived on Bainbridge Island, WA by Congressman Joel Pritchard, William Bell, and Barney McCallum when they couldn’t find the shuttlecock for a family game of badminton. Their ‘MacGyver’ instincts kicked into full gear as the birdie was replaced with a wiffle ball, the racquets became paddles made out of plywood and sawed-off tennis racquets, and they lowered the net to accommodate the equipment changes.

Legend has it the game was named after the family dog, Pickles, since his toy, the wiffle ball, was used to play the game – Pickle’s Ball – which later became Pickleball. However, the family persists they didn’t get the dog until 1967 and named him after the game. Joan Pritchard says the game reminded her of the “Pickle Boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.”

Pickleball attracts good people who don’t take themselves too seriously. The court is smaller than a tennis court; therefore, the game is more social as you are playing closer together”, says Carroll.

The Same But Different ~ Courts ‘n Nets

The Pickleball court is similar to a doubles badminton court. It is striped like a tennis court, with no alleys; but the outer courts, and not the inner courts, are divided in half by service lines. As shown in this photo, lines can be painted on a tennis court, so both games can easily be played utilizing the same court.


Photo courtesy of the USAPA

The tennis net hangs two inches lower when playing Pickleball than when playing tennis. The non-volley zone is seven feet in back of the net, which, according to Coach Pat, “is the best position to win the point; you won’t win if you don’t advance to the line. Playing Pickleball takes finesse, discipline, and control; it’s not a power game. Play is soft and low at the opponent’s shoe laces.”

Put Away the Parcheesi Game

Take it from Pat Carroll, someone who has played both games and played them well……..

“It only takes 15 minutes to learn the game

But a lifetime to master the game [of Pickleball]”

Pickleball is an inter-generational sport. You can have a ten year old and a seventy year old on the court at the same time, both enjoying the game. Seniors, who find they can no longer participate in strenuous sports, are able to play Pickleball and love it; it gets them active, out of the house, and changes their lives for the better.

The next time your grand kids or great grand kids come over for a visit, put away the Parcheesi board, the Sorry game, and the Checkers game, and grab the Pickleball paddles! Oh, the memories you will make.


tennis nets, Pickleball

There’s a new game in town!

Get in the game

Find out where to play

Whether you are looking for a way to improve your tennis game, add a new sport to your repertoire, or simply want to meet some new, active friends to play with; belly up to the tennis net and test your skills with Pickleball.

Pat loves the game of Pickleball and will be happy to help you with learning how to play the game, and in finding places to play in your area.

San Diego County locals may contact Pat Carroll directly, via telephone, at 760-310-6847, or, via email, at




Published September 2012

Client: Do It Tennis


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One thought on “Lower the Tennis Nets….

  1. Pingback: Blue or Red Clay? | Tennisenergy

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