What is Pickleball, How Do You Play it and Where Can You Find a Court in Bayonne

Pickleball court
Pickleball court at Stephen R. Gregg Park in Bayonne. Photo credit: Bayonne Buzz

Pickleball? What’s pickleball? You may have heard about the sport as it is growing quickly in popularity. If you haven’t heard about it, perhaps you’ve seen people playing on a small tennis-like court but didn’t know what it was. So what is this sport, why is it growing and where can you play it in Bayonne? Let’s begin…

Pickleball is a popular paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It is played on a badminton sized court, smaller than the familiar tennis ones, with a modified tennis net. The sport is played with solid paddles and a plastic ball with holes, similar to a wiffle ball. The game can be played in singles or doubles format and according to USA Pickleball, the national governing body for the sport, the game is suitable for all ages and skill levels. 

The sport was created in 1965, by Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell near Seattle, WA, but has just recently gained mainstream popularity. According to the Sports Fitness and Industry Association, a trade organization tracking the sports and fitness industry, Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the US with 8.9 million players in the US, an increase from 4.8 million the year before. 

Pickleball paddle and balls
“A pickleball paddle with two pickleballs” by OvertAnalyzer is licensed under Creative Commons

The objective of pickleball is to score points by hitting the ball over the net and within the opponent’s court boundaries, while following specific rules. The serving team initiates the rally by serving diagonally to the opponent’s court, and the receiving team must let the ball bounce once before returning it. After the initial bounce, both teams can volley the ball (hit it in the air) or play it off the bounce. The ball must clear the net and land in the designated areas of the court for it to be considered in play. Typically, games are played until a score of 11 or 15 points is reached.

One of the key aspects of pickleball is the “non-volley zone,” also known as the “kitchen.” This area extends seven feet from the net and prohibits players from hitting the ball before it lands while standing inside it. This rule prevents players from hovering near the net and spiking the ball down for easy points.


Pickleball court with highlight of Kitchen area
Pickleball court Pickleball court with highlight of Kitchen area. Creative illustration by Bayonne Buzz

Where to play in Bayonne

Bayonne and Hudson County have recently made capital improvements to Stephen R Gregg Park and G. Thomas DiDomenico 16th Street Park to add pickleball courts. Two pickleball courts were added to G. Thomas DiDomenico 16th Street in 2022, while Hudson County created two pickleball courts this spring at Stephen R Gregg Park near the Northwest corner of the park.