From POP Tennis to Pickleball, there's a game for any age, fitness level

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Changing the court and racquet size are a few key ways that help change the game of tennis so all ages and activity levels can enjoy a tennis-type sport. (KABC)

While tennis remains a popular recreational sport, there are a handful of spin offs from this age-old game that are taking center court.

One such game is POP Tennis.

"The strokes are the same. The scoring is the same. The movement - the same," said Ken Lindner, president of the POP Tennis Association.

Lindner said the 115-year-old paddle tennis game is officially called "POP Tennis" and it's extremely "pop-u-lar."

"The court is smaller, the net is lower, the ball is less lively and the racquet is held close to your hand," Lindner said.

The serve is underhand, and yes the ball pops.

"You can play for a lot longer. It's real exciting. It has all the basic essentials that is tennis," Austin Doerner, of Santa Monica, said.

Doerner teaches court sports and sees the benefits of knocking both racquet and court down to size.

A tennis court is 78 feet long. A POP tennis court can be 60, 50, or 36 feet.

Then there's Pickleball.

Recreation coordinator Brandon Ferguson of Agoura Hills Parks & Recreation Center said he's seen seniors and kids gain physical benefits in as little as two weeks.

"Cognitively, balance, stability, flexibility, hand-eye coordination. It doesn't matter if you're 80 or 10," Ferguson said.

Even though the game has been around for 50 years, the U.S. Pickleball association - yes, there is one - reports this game has been increasing in popularity by 84 percent in the last three years.

"I get laughs every time I tell someone I'm going to play Pickleball. No one gets it," said David Katner, of Calabasas, who recently tried the game.

At the Santa Monica Tennis Center there's also Live Ball that is played on a traditional court. A pro serves the ball underhand while six or seven people on the court cycle in, making it fast and furious.

There's also Cardio Tennis that combines the Live Ball concept with interval training court side, keeping the ball and bodies in motion.

You will find all of these games around the Los Angeles area. In addition, most clubs and community centers rent racquets inexpensively and courts can be free or as little as three bucks depending on where you play.

Cardio Tennis and Live Ball can provide a racquet for you when purchasing a session.
Related Topics:
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