Pickleball is picking up pace in Shanghai

Li Fei
The new sport, Pickleball, is already huge in the US with kids, adults and even celebrities picking it up. Now Shanghai has opened its first Pickleball court in Huangpu District.
Li Fei

A wiffle ball, ping-pong paddles and a badminton net, that is what pickleball looks like.

Nobody quite knows why pickleball is called pickleball.

But it's gone viral in the US, with CNN calling it America's unofficial pandemic pastime. Over 1 million Americans have picked up a paddle in the last two years.

Pickleball is picking up pace in Shanghai
Yan Jingyang / SHINE

The pickle ball – a hollow plastic wiffleball punctuated by holes.

The New Yorker asked if pickleball could save America, Ellen DeGeneres ran a segment about her "obsession" with it on her eponymous TV show, Vanity Fair wondered how it had won everyone over, and the Kardashians played it on their own reality show.

Last month, Shanghai's first pickleball court opened in Huanpu District, bringing the new sport to the city.

Pickleball is picking up pace in Shanghai
Yan Jingyang / SHINE

Fiona Li experiences the new sport at Shanghai's first pickleball court.

It's east to start, there's no need to run too much, it spans a wide range of ages, and people from different backgrounds can play.

The non-volley zone, or "kitchen," is what gives pickleball much of its distinctiveness.

It minimizes running, allowing older players to be just as competitive as younger, fitter players and diminishes the role of power so that children can play alongside adults.

Played as doubles or singles, the "kitchen" has a lot of special rules and makes the sport more interesting and fair – it's something that levels the playing field.

  • Your serve must be hit underhand and be started from the baseline.
  • The serve must land beyond the Kitchen area.
  • Your serve must go cross court to the diagonal square from you.
  • You continue to serve until you lose a point.
  • All shots must land in bounds.
  • The ball must bounce once on each side at the start of a rally. The serve must bounce before being hit by the receiving team and the return of serve must bounce before being returned.
  • You can't hit the ball out of the air while standing in the Kitchen or Non-Volley Zone.
  • If you are standing on the Kitchen line, you are in the Kitchen.
  • Nothing can come off of your body (clothes, sunglasses, gum, etc.) and land in the Kitchen after a volley.
  • After volleying a ball out of the air, your momentum cannot take you into the Kitchen.
  • Only the serving team can earn points.

Pickleball is picking up pace in Shanghai
Sun Minjie / SHINE

Fiona and Alex are playing pickleball.

Pickleball offers physical exercise, mental exercise, and a mental health boost. It's great to invite friends to play for some weekend fun, and the colorful wiffle balls and smallish court are perfect to snap a few photos.

The sport has already caught on with celebrities in American, and it's attracting influencers in Shanghai.

If you're not great at tennis, ping-pong or badminton, but want to pick up a paddles, try this.

If you go:

Opening Hours: 10am-10pm

Address: 603 Dapu Rd, Huangpu District


Reservation required on the WeChat mini-program "InLove英乐体育."

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