Step aside, Tennis! Pickleball is the new kid in town. We sat down with pickleball professional, Marc Baldinger, to get the scoop on this new, fun sport and some pro tips on how to up our pickleball game.

Marc has played more than four decades of competitive tennis and is taking that experience, energy, and passion to pickleball. He got his start playing six years ago as an activity to do with his wife and hasn’t looked back. He quickly picked up on the game, and after only one year, he joined in his first tournament and won his second! After his first win, they kept rolling in. Mark has won medals at tournaments all around Florida and even qualified for the state senior games and placed fourth. Marc then became a sponsored player for Engaged Pickleball, one of the sport’s largest equipment manufacturers, and now serves on the company’s advisory board. Following these outstanding achievements, Admirals Cove asked Marc to be their newest pickleball instructor, and he has been instructing for three years. 

Pickleball has taken South Florida by storm and continues to grow in popularity. Through his passion for the game of pickleball and his training efforts, Marc has had a hand in cultivating locals’ love for this budding sport. Now to answer the question we are all asking. Why is pickleball so popular? Marc explained that in addition to it being an enjoyable sport to play, pickleball is easy to learn, is great exercise, and is a lower impact compared to other sports. While trying to learn another sport, it can take months or years to get the hang of it, but pickleball can be picked up and played proficiently in a matter of a few games. In addition, pickleball is a slower-paced sport compared to its counterpart, tennis, and is easier to navigate thanks to the smaller court size. You can fit four pickleball courts into one tennis court! All these factors set the stage for pickleball to become beloved across the country. 

How do you play pickleball? Marc shared some of the basic pickleball rules to get you started before you even step foot on the court. 

Stay out of the kitchen: The area between the net and the non-volley line is called the kitchen or the non-volley zone. You cannot step in the kitchen and hit the ball, so remember, stay out of the kitchen!

Let it bounce: when the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning, and the serving team must let it bounce before returning (a.k.a. The one bounce rule). 

Stay right: the first serve for each side starts on the right-hand side of the court. 

Just keep serving: the server keeps the serve until the serving team loses the rally. 

Aim for +2: Most games are played up until 11 points (sometimes 15), and you must win by two. Now you are ready to get out there and play!  

Marc’s top tips for pickleball perfection!

1. Get to the line as quick as possible! 70% of the shots are hit right at the line.

2. Keep the paddle up! You want to be ready at all times. 

3.Consistency! You want to keep the ball in play and moving for the duration of the game.


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