Don’t sleep on a kimchi ball – it’s bound to be your favorite new hobby


A young black disabled woman plays kimchi ball with her friends

If you’ve ignored the kimchi ball before because of its funny name or the fact that your parents begged you to play, it’s time to get familiar with it. The sport – a mixture of table tennis, badminton and tennis – is developing rapidly, thanks in large part to the pandemic. In fact, according to the 2022 report of the sports and Fitness Industry Association, pickpocketing has been rated as “the fastest growing sport in the United States” for the second consecutive year.

The sport’s historic reputation as a middle-aged hobby is not entirely unfair. In 2019, the average age of kimchi players was 43.5 years old. But not surprisingly, when people look for new hobbies in the pandemic, it began to catch on with young people. It’s easy to get started. Athletes of any age and ability can enjoy it, and it’s very interesting. According to USA pickeball, the sport’s governing body, the oldest age group of kimchi ball players is now 8 to 34 years old. The movement even spread outside the United States. Kimchi balls are now used in more than 70 countries around the world.

“It’s exciting that we learn and discover new aspects of the sport every day,” said Catherine Parenteau, one of the highest ranked female professional kimchi players. “The development of this sport in the past two years is incredible. I can’t wait to see its position in five years.”

If you are not a kimchi fan, I hope you are at least curious about this sport now. So we’ve collected all the information you need to know about kimchi balls – and how to get started.

What is pickeball – why is it suddenly so popular?

This is a racket sport. Singles or doubles use paddles and badminton nets on a court (similar to a tennis court, but only a quarter of its size). You hit the ball back and forth on the Internet and try to score against your opponent.

Pickeball is very easy to use – even for those who have not participated in racket sports – you can play as much as you want. Because it’s easy to use and can be played in teams, it also has a very attractive social element. There are even places to take advantage of this, pairing leather courses with full-service bars (think: top golf, but for kimchi), and resorts catering to kimchi dominated travelers, said Laura gainor, vosberg gainer, a pickleball marketing agency working with pickleball in the United States.

“That’s why everyone likes the game and why it’s growing so fast because it has such an interesting social atmosphere,” Geithner said. “Besides, you’re exercising, but you don’t really realize… This game is easy to play, so no matter what level you are, it’s quite easy to have fun.”

Geithner picked up the kimchi ball in 2019, and now she has played four generations of kimchi balls with her parents, grandparents and her children – a living proof that kimchi balls can attract a wide audience.

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“At first, people thought it was a retirement community movement, a movement for the elderly, but we quickly overcame that – it has really improved in the past three years,” Geithner said. “I have stopped receiving comments on this because people see it as a sport.”

For example: you can compete. There are a series of qualifiers that will allow you to enter the national championship, played at Indian Wells Tennis garden in November in Palm Springs, California. There are also two professional kimchi tours and a newly established major league baseball kimchi ball entity, composed of 12 teams. Even if you are not a good professional, you can participate in the local kimchi competition in your area.

“To some extent, the sport now feels more ‘real’ because it earns much more than it did a few years ago,” Parenteau said. “Now people regard playing professional kimchi as a profession. Three or four years ago, it was just an interesting hobby. The players began to take it more seriously.”

Why is it called kimchi ball?

The origin story of pickeball is as strange as its name: in 1965, on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, the task of the three fathers was to make their children happy. American kimchi ball Joel Pritchard, Bill bell and Barney McCallum created a new game using hand-made equipment and simple rules drawn from other sports – somehow it got stuck.

But why is it called kimchi? Like most urban legends, there is no clear answer. In the early days of the game, the sport had no official name. It was not until it became more and more popular that it was called kimchi. “Joan pickeball’s choice of kimchi from the other boats, according to her wife, reminds her of the kimchi,” she said. However, according to McCallum, the game was named after Pritchards’ dog pickles, who often chases the ball. Others claim that both stories may be true.

How to play kimchi ball

Pickeball takes place on a 20 foot by 44 foot court; You can find kimchi specific courses in some tennis or entertainment centers, but you can also do it on tennis courts, badminton courts, volleyball courts or basketball courts, as long as the correct marks exist (whether temporary painting or tape), according to the American kimchi ball

The game uses a lightweight plastic ball with holes (very similar to a wiffle ball) and a racket (similar to a table tennis racket, but larger and more rectangular).

The basic rules of kimchi ball are as follows:

The player serves low handed or from the right side of the court by “pitching”. The contact between the paddle and the ball must be below the waist.

After serving, the receiving and serving team must bounce the ball once, and then return the ball. Then, the serving team must make it bounce once to return.

After the ball bounces once on each team’s court, both teams can intercept the ball (hit the ball before the ball bounces) or play in the rebound ball (hit the ball on the ground). If the ball bounces more than once on either side of the court, it is an error (any rule violation that causes the game to stop).

The server can score only when the receiving and serving team makes a mistake, such as hitting out of bounds or returning the ball. If the serving team makes a mistake, the other team can serve, but they won’t get a point for the mistake.

If the score is scored (by the serving team), the server switches sides. This means that if the serving team scores in the first volley, the server will start their next serve from the left side of the court. The server continues to switch back and forth after each point until they make a mistake and it’s the other team’s turn to serve. The team can serve from just any side of the server.

The non volley area (also known as the “kitchen”) is the area of the court within 7 feet on both sides of the net. You must not volley the ball in this area. If you do this, it’s a mistake.

The game usually goes on to 11 points, and you must win with 2 points.

Although all this sounds a little confusing, fans prove the fact that once you start playing it, it’s very easy to get started. You can read more detailed rules and official rules of the game American kimchi ball



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Playing kimchi ball is good for body and mind

Pickeball will make you feel like a serious athlete – while you have fun and get good exercise.

“Kimchi balls significantly improve cardiovascular health,” said Katie Easter, kimchi ball coordinator, North Bloomington “Compared with other racket sports, it has a much smaller impact on the body.” This is partly because the court is smaller, so you need to run less, and because the ball moves more slowly. “You can also gain strength and agility because it takes advantage of a lot of muscle and direction changes,” she said.

This is a small study conducted by the American Sports Commission on the impact of kimchi ball on middle-aged and elderly people (40-85 years old). It was found that in only 15 minutes of kimchi ball competition, participants’ heart rate easily reached the threshold of moderate intensity exercise, and even reached the peak value of intense intensity range. After six weeks of playing 60 minute kimchi balls three times a week, the researchers found improvements in cardiac metabolic indicators, including cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

That is, “the intensity of the pickeball game actually depends on the participants,” the researchers wrote – so if you’re a beginner or need to slow down, you can.

In addition to its physical benefits, kimchi can also have a positive impact on your mental health, Easter said. “It can reduce your mood and make you feel happier. It can also reduce your risk of dementia. The social interaction brought by kimchi balls is good for your brain.”

How to start playing pickeball

“One of the reasons I like kimchi balls is because they’re easy to use, even if you’ve never played any sport before,” Parenteau said. “It’s suitable for all ages. You can also play. (for example, I can play with my grandfather.) And the price is not expensive! ”

To get started, you need this kimchi Kit:

A good pair of sneakers: you can choose any pair of sneakers that support kimchi, but if you decide to stick to it, consider investing in a pair of sneakers designed for court sports, such as Adidas or Nike

Kimchi paddle: you can use wooden paddles ($15-30) or composite kimchi paddles ($40-100). Find them on Amazon or in sporting goods stores, such as Dick’s, or your local racket sports store nearby.

Some kimchi balls: make sure you buy a special ball for kimchi balls, not just any plastic ball with holes. They will pay you about $10 for a three – piece package on Amazon

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