CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- When your body is telling you it's time to hang up the tennis racquet, it doesn't have to be the end of your time on the court.
A new sport is gaining popularity, especially among the older crowd because of its ease on the knees and focus on fun.
It's not tennis, it's not badminton, it's not even ping pong. It's actually a hybrid of all three called pickleball!
"The game was named after the founders' dog Pickles who chased the balls," says Linda Foley, Orange County Ambassador for the USAPA
Pickleball is played with wooden paddles and a whiffle ball, on a court half the size of a tennis court.
The sport is booming, mostly because baby boomers are taking to it.
"There's no big penalty to being short, tall, fat, slow, fast," says Anthony Abowd, Pickleball player.
"It's great exercise, time flies by and you don't realize it," says Kathy Roberts, Pickleball player.
"The good thing is you don't have to run all over town to play pickleball, you just 20 feet at the most you run forward and you run back," says Les Taylor, Pickleball player.
This works well for players who don't move like they used to but still want to be moving.
That's why 77-year-old Shirley Symonds started playing.
"I like it because, I can, it's something I can still do," says Symonds
Players also enjoy the social benefits of the game which keep going after they leave the court.
"You feel invigorated when you leave you know, and I'm a lot easier to get along with when I get home," says Symonds
It seems like the sport is a hit, but there is one potential strike.
"It's a weird name I hope they rename it, people think you hit a pickle around," says Anthony Abowd.
There are pickleball courts in nearly every state. It is especially popular in Arizona and Florida.
Chattanooga has two locations.
The level of play can range from pickup games on the weekends, to national tournaments.
There is also one at the Blue Ridge Swim and Tennis Club.
Frances Wyatt Center
406 Colville St. (NORTH CHATTANOOGA)
Mondays - 3pm-7:30pm
Wednesdays - 10am-1pm ; 3pm-7:30pm
Signal Mountain Town Gym
Wednesdays & Fridays - 10am
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