Goose Creek Mayor Greg Habib often jokes that soon his city will be designated as the “pickleball capital of the world.”
Plenty of residents would welcome such a title.
The popular game of pickleball draws residents and non-residents alike to the Goose Creek Community Center located in the Michael J. Heitzler Recreation Complex, 519A North Goose Creek Boulevard.
There are six courts at the recreation center, divided into three courts per gymnasium. Approximately 165-180 players a week utilize the courts, said T.J. Rostin, recreation director for the city.
According to Rostin, Goose Creek offers more pickleball time than most other pickleball sites in the Lowcountry and since the courts are inside, players don’t have to worry about weather.
“Pickleball is a rapidly growing sport that has many benefits,” Rostin said in an email to the Gazette. “All players, regardless of skill level, can play the sport.”
Pickleball can be a leisure activity or it can be a competitive sport, he said.
“We offer both types with daily play and also competitive tournaments,” Rostin said.
Pickleball is described as a cross between tennis and ping pong. Players must stay out of a seven foot section on either side of the net called “the kitchen.” The wiffle ball must bounce before a player hits it with their paddle and all serves must be underhand.
Mount Pleasant resident Nancy Markovich, 58, travels to Goose Creek at least three days a week to play pickleball. She said the sport is so fun that it’s addictive.
“The thing about pickleball is it’s almost like the first time a little kid gets to go out and play with his friends,” Markovich said. “That’s the feeling that you get when you play pickleball.
It’s an ideal sport for people who have problems with their flexibility or speed, Markovich said, because the game is about precision, not hard strokes.
“It’s just like everything when we age- we need to work on balance, we need to work on quickness,” Markovich said. “This helps us work on our balance and quickness instead of just losing all of that.”
Other advantages of the sport include a smaller court and lower net; both characteristics make the game more accessible for seniors, Markovich said.
“Everybody needs to be playing pickleball because it keeps you active, it keeps you part of the community,” Markovich said.
The social aspect of pickleball is hard to miss seeing as most of the courts in Goose Creek are filled daily with players laughing and talking as they compete.
Goose Creek resident Jeanette Vize, 63, plays pickleball with her friends about four times a week.
“It is the most fun exercising that I’ve ever had, Vize said. “It has improved my mental status too.”
Vize said she is inspired by another regular player who is 87. He typically plays pickleball twice a week.
Summerville resident Beth Holt said she enjoys playing pickleball because it brings back some of the energy of her youth.
“I just love it because I feel like I’m 8 or 10-years-old again,” Holt said. “I truly do. It makes you feel young.”
To study an informational guide about the sport, go here.