Pickleball Serves Up Health Benefits and Friendships During COVID


This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

Residents and guests from neighboring communities gathered at Reata Glen in February for a Pickleball Expo led by National Pickleball Gold Medalist Bill Smith.
Residents and guests from neighboring communities gathered at Reata Glen in February for a Pickleball Expo led by National Pickleball Gold Medalist Bill Smith.

As the sun begins to rise, a group of seniors is grabbing their paddles and heading out to the pickleball courts at Reata Glen senior living community. Three days a week, for nearly two hours, the residents at this San Juan Capistrano community practice their backswings and drop spins against their competitors. For many of them, like resident Barbara Trafficanda, it’s a game that’s kept them busy and in shape during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The sport is so popular at the community because residents can practice social distancing while getting a good workout,” said Barbara. “Just this last month, the community added two more courts so more people can play and remain socially safe.”

Pickleball has been growing in popularity across the country, especially with the senior population. Nearly 43% of the core players of pickleball are 65 years and older. The sport is like tennis but has many advantages for seniors, including a smaller court and lower net.

Thirty Reata Glen residents regularly use the courts. This is one of many sports played at the community so residents can remain active. The social aspect has also been important, especially during the current pandemic.