No one really understands how a sport becomes popular, but I challenge you to name one other sport that seems to have popped up out of nowhere that has the popularity right now that pickleball does. It seems to have virtually sprouted up out of the ether.

New Jersey towns cannot build pickleball courts fast enough to keep up with the demand for play. People who didn’t have room for standard tennis courts are looking into the option of putting pickleball courts in their backyards. The frenzy is real.

In fact, the newest center for pickleball is the Mercer Bucks Pickleball Club, a sparkling new 26,000-square-foot club located at 370 Sullivan Way in Ewing Township, which is the largest pickleball-dedicated facility in the Northeast.

It’s a pickleball lover’s dream with nine indoor courts, a players’ lounge, an event room, and much much more.

For the uninitiated, pickleball is a cross between ping pong, tennis and badminton, and is among the fastest-growing sports in the nation, not just here in NJ, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. It is played on a court that is about a third of the size of a tennis court and uses a paddle and a pickleball, a perforated, hard plastic ball.

And New Jerseyans can’t get enough.

If you do a Google search you can find a lot of places around New Jersey to play, but this list from the New Jersey Leisure Guide is one of the most comprehensive. It also includes places where you can get a lesson or two to begin. But it’s quick to learn, so you can be in fighting form in time for the summer. So get Pickling! (And if that’s not a phrase yet, I just made it one)

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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