Special Olympics Athletics


Ball (similar to a whiffle ball) Paddles


Matches are played on a rectangular court, similar in size to a badminton court. A net separates the court and stands 36 inches off the ground. Matches can be played by singles or doubles. Play begins with a player serving from the right side of the court. The ball must contact the paddle below the waist, using an underhand motion, and must land in the diagonally opposite court, past the non-volley line. The receiving player or team must let the ball bounce before returning the serve. The serving player or team must do the same. Players cannot hit the ball in the air while standing in the non-volley zone. Points are scored when a serving player or team wins a rally. Players switch sides after each point is scored. The first player or team to reach 11 points and win by 2 points, wins the match.


Pickleball is a sport that combines elements of ping pong, tennis and badminton. Played on a badminton-sized court, players use wooden paddles to volley a wiffleball over a small net. Pickleball was invented outside Seattle in the 1960's. After casually being played in backyards and driveways, proper courts were constructed, similar in size to badminton courts. Matches, which can be played by singles or doubles, consist of the players or teams volleying a small plastic ball with paddles. Matches last to 21 points, with serving teams scoring only by winning volleys.


Pickleball was created near Seattle in 1965, as a sport meant for families. Games were originally played in backyards or driveways, but were later moved to specialized courts as the game evolved. The USA Pickleball Association was created in 1984 to serve as the sport's governing body. Today pickleball is popular in parts of the United States, particularly with senior citizens.