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Life With Laura: Pickleball Comes To SF

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It’s a sport that’s rapidly gaining popularity across the country, and recently migrated to Sioux Falls.


The racquet sport known as pickleball dates back to 1965, when a man from Washington decided to put a twist on the game of badminton.


“He lowered the net a little bit and he just said let's figure this out and started the game,” said Dennis Finke of Sioux Falls. “Whenever the ball got lost or something their dog would get it. He'd say ‘hey Pickles, go get the ball!’ So they called the ball game pickleball!"


While the fast growing sport has been around for almost five decades, it's just beginning to catch on in Sioux Falls, thanks in part to Dennis Finke.


"I just love the sport so I help them grow,” said Finke.


The retiree learned to play when he lived in Arizona. When he made the move to Sioux Falls, he decided to bring the sport with him.


“I went to the Sioux Falls Parks and Rec Department and said ‘hey, I'd like to play pickleball’ and they said ‘we have one other guy in town that wants to play’ and so I called him up," explained Finke.


That one phone call generated dozens of people interested in learning the ropes to the game that's similar to tennis, but has its own unique variations.


“The scoring is a little different because in tennis every sever gets 2 serves, but here you only get one serve. If you lose your serve then it goes to your partner and then they get a serve,” explained Finke.

“On the return of service, the receiving team or the server hits the ball first, and has to let the ball bounce before he can hit the ball. After that it resembles tennis, there's a lot of volleying and going to the net.”


The rules are easy to understand and, unlike the name, won't get you in a pickle.


“We'll have you go out and be playing pickle ball in 10-15 min!!" said Finke.


While the weather is nice, pickleball is played outdoors. The Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Department also host the sport indoors at the Kenny Anderson Community Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon.


For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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