A Passion for Pickleball

Even though pickleball has been around for over 50 years, it has recently become one of the fastest-growing sports trends in the country. It is a fun, fast-paced game for players of all ages and skill levels. New York native turned Apex resident Tony Costa is one of the most passionate pickleball players in town.

Local Pickleball Resources

Leif Jenssen, with Peak City Podcast, recently spoke with Costa about all things pickleball.

So how would you explain pickleball to somebody who’s completely unfamiliar with the game?

I teach pickleball to the newcomers that come to play. If you play tennis, or ping pong, you’ll pick up the game really fast. It’s with a Wiffle Ball, paddles – which you can use wood or whatever paddle you like. There are a couple of rules that you have to know, like the kitchen area, which is by the net, is 7 feet on both sides. You cannot go into the kitchen unless the ball bounces in the kitchen. And then when you do serve, the first time the other team hits it back, you can’t hit it on a fly. You have to let it bounce over, only the first time. Then you can volley, and what I like about most is the volleying back and forth.

Let’s talk about your walk with pickleball. How did you start playing and how long have you been playing?

I’ve been playing for a year and a half. My wife got me into this. She said, “Tony, we have to do a sport that we could do together.” I played singles a lot, but most people play as doubles, so you have two against two. So, my wife and I started playing indoors in Apex.

Who’s the better pickleball player: you or your wife?

Well, she’s good. I taught her how to switch hands, which a lot of people don’t switch hands. Everybody uses the backhand. She could play. She doesn’t play as much as I do, so I will leave it like that.

In my research I’ve found pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America.

It’s flying off. There’s plenty of tournaments, indoors and outdoors. Most of the indoor tournaments are at NetSports in Morrisville. There’s a big tournament in Naples, Florida; there’s 60 pickleball courts and it’s different. They rate people. Like, let’s say you’re a 4.0 player, you wouldn’t play in a 3.5 tournament.

What do you think it is about the sport that lends itself to make people so passionate about it?

I think it’s the friendship you create playing with the same group of people. There’s meet-up groups, and you’ll have 20 to 30 people there. Or if you go on a Saturday, there’ll be 40 or 50 people there.

People meet up at 6:30 in the morning to play. A lot of people do it for exercise, which is nice. And a lot of people do it for friendship. They’ve made friends at pickleball.

What’s the best way to get started if you’re interested and you want to play?

The best way is to come out to the pickleball courts. You could watch. If you have any athletic ability, like reflexes with ping pong, or you play tennis, you’ll pick up pickleball. I love it.

Peak City Podcast is your resource for everything Apex. Building bridges in the community to support a strong, vibrant and engaged community! Listen to this and other episodes at peakcitypodcast.com.

1 Comment

  • Neil Forman says:

    I came here from SO. CA. Where I was playing Paddle Tennis 4-5 days a week. I found 15-20 people who P/T and played with them for over 2 hrs. One of the players mentioned to meet him at Bond Park on Fri. To play P/b and fell in love with the game and have never looked back.

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