Pickleball growing in popularity at Commonwealth Games

‘This tournament has 123 participants from all over the state of Virginia’

LYNCHBURG, Va. – It’s said to be the fastest growing sport in America and it has packed the gyms of the Lehaye Center at Liberty University.

Pickleball is all the craze and is one of the most competitive sports the Commonwealth Games has to offer. Over 100 athletes are competing over the weekend in singles, mixed doubles, and doubles matches. Trish hammer has already won gold in the women’s singles and she and her partner Carter Turner are looking for the same success in mixed doubles action.

“The competition--it’s intense competition,” said Hammer.

“We’re in Lynchburg so it draws people from all over the state, so it’s always fun to see how the Roanoke pickleball group does,” Turner said. “To play outside our area, it’s awesome, its a good tournament.”

“A lot of new faces to pickle ball and they’re crossing over from tennis and they’re finding out about the no volley zone, and its super fast when you get up to the no volley zone hitting the ball back and forth at each other and I think that’s where the excitement lives,” said Jim Aldrich. He serves as the pickleball tournament director. “This tournament has 123 participants from all over the state of Virginia so we’re expecting next year to be twice as big.”

The Virginia Commonwealth Games main games weekend kicks off on Friday July 29.

About the Authors:

Brooke Leonard is the newest addition to the 10 Sports team, joining in June 2019.

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.