Pickleball popularity exploding in central Virginia

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 1:34 PM EDT
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KESWICK, Va. (WVIR) - Pickleball is America’s fastest growing sport, with around 5 million players, and it is catching on in central Virginia, too.

“I started during the pandemic. It was a way to just get active and see people, but not get too close to them,” Jas Heim said. “It was really fun and I got hooked after the first time.”

Jas Heim and Andrew Mavraganis are teaming up and getting ready to compete in a pickleball tournament.

“I love being competitive. I played lacrosse in college, so it’s a really great way to stay active and competitive in a little, compact, manageable, competitive sport,” Mavraganis said.

Pickleball is played on a court about the quarter the size of a tennis court, and the balls are made out of plastic.

“There’s not a lot of risk of getting injured, you don’t have to worry about being so sore the next day,” Andrew said. “You’re going to wake up and feel good about what you did the day before.”

Pickleball has become so popular that many clubs and associations have altered some of their tennis courts to accommodate for this sport.

“The social part is great. We have a ladies’ group here, we are all moms with young children. This is our outlet. We get out a couple nights a week and we play and it’s fun and we get all our aggression out,” Jas said.

Megan Washburn is the pickleball teaching pro at the Club at Glenmore.

“I’ve been playing since 2015, and what I’ve noticed is the crowd is becoming younger and younger,” she said. “It’s an easy sport to pick up, it’s a hard sport to master. I think that provides things for lots of different folks.”

“When you hit a great shot, there’s no feeling that can replace that. It’s really fun,” Heim said.

“It’s also a great way to connect with other people, different ages, and different styles and backgrounds. It’s easy to pick up. Once you step on the court you feel you know how to play,” Mavraganis said.

Click here to take part in a tournament being held at Glenmore.

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