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If you’re going to become true pickleballers, then you’ve got to learn the five Ps of pickleball: paddle, pelt, perforate, polymer, and paddle!

The “fastest growing adult sport” in America arrives at three D.C. rec centers this week, according to the Department of Parks and Recreation. Pickleball (as City Desk can attest to from high school gym classes led by a teacher obsessed with the sport) plays like a mix of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton: You and a partner (or partners if the game is doubles) whack a perforated polymer ball back and forth over a net, on a court that’s smaller than those used for tennis. “The game was invented in the mid-1960s as a backyard pastime, but it has become very popular among adults as a fun game for players of all levels, particularly active seniors,” DPR explains. “The game is great exercise, but it doesn’t require the speed and range of tennis. It’s a gentler game that is both social and competitive.”

Also, it doesn’t hurt when you get hit with a ball (except for in the face, in City Desk’s experience).

Here’s where/when you can get your paddle on for free, guided by seven DPR volunteers who staff the program (equipment provided):

  • King Greenleaf Recreation Center at 201 N St. SW from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Tuesday
  • Emery Recreation Center at 5701 Georgia Ave. NW from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday
  • Sherwood Recreation Center at 640 10th St. NE from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. every Thursday

And, because you’re all law-abiding citizens, here are the rules:

Photo by Ritzee Rebel via Flickr/CC BY-SA2.0