Try This for Better Truck Driver Health: Pickleball

Pickleball is a great way to improve trucker wellness and it’s a great way for fleets and human resource departments in transportation to focus on and support healthier drivers in the trucking industry. It provides many health benefits and offers a FUN way to improve trucker wellness on so many levels. Truck drivers can find pickleball games all over the US as the sport is exploding in popularity.  With little equipment, it is a game that helps truckers meet new friends while getting healthier. For truckers, pickleball can be a game that up levels your health as well as your mood.

Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the US with 36.5 million people playing the game on over 10,000 courts, nationwide. While pickleball was created in 1965, over the last 10 years it has really caught on, growing by 158% in the last three years. Pick up a racquet and get a great workout while having a blast.


Health Benefits of Pickleball

For those trying to lose weight, pickleball is a fun way to burn calories. An hour will go by before you know it. The health benefits of Pickleball are considerable. Compared to walking for 30 minutes, playing pickleball will raise your heart rate by 14% more and you will burn 36% more calories. Pickleball’s health benefits include being a great cardiovascular workout, developing core strength, and improving agility while reducing stress. Reaching high and low for balls helps develop your core strength. Pickleball also improves agility by developing better eye-hand coordination.  It is a great way to reduce stress as you focus 100% of your attention on the game and take a break from your concerns. You will laugh at a ball that skips along the net then goes over, cheer for a hard-won point, and celebrate a tied game that goes to extra points. Pickleball has so many health benefits which include improving your mood and bumping up your happiness!


Reasons to Play Pickleball:

Pickleball combines badminton, ping pong, and tennis. It is played with a lightweight, short racquet and a ball, like a wiffle ball. If you haven’t already played, here are a few reasons to take up the game:

  • easy to learn
  • slower pace than tennis, and less ground to cover
  • accessible to all athletic abilities and ages (some play in wheelchairs, others are in their 90s)
  • great social outlet
  • played outdoors or indoors
  • play either singles or doubles
  • underhand serve is easy to master
  • super fun and addictive



The Court

A pickleball court is the same size as a badminton court, with lines like a tennis court. Nearly 4 pickleball courts can fit on 1 tennis court! Singles and doubles play on the same court lines. There is a right and left service court and a non-volley zone near the net, called the Kitchen. The net is lower than a tennis net. There are slightly different balls for indoor and outdoor play, determined by the number and size of the holes in the balls.

Basic Play for Doubles

On the serving side, both players stand at the baseline. At the beginning of the game, the side serving first gets one serve. The score at the beginning of the game is 0-0-start. Points are only scored when serving. From the right side of the court, the serve is delivered underhand, below the player’s waist into the opponent’s right court. The serve must clear the kitchen line but can hit the net. The opposing team returns the ball after a bounce. After the first two shots, the ball can be hit out of the air. If a point is won, by the serving team, the same server moves to the left court and serves for the next point. Side-out occurs when the first team to serve loses the point.

Moving forward, each player on a side serves before relinquishing the serve. The next server calls the score as 0-0-1, or 0-0-2, if no points are scored.

The Kitchen

The non-volley zone, called the Kitchen, is where most of the action occurs. Players cannot step into the kitchen to hit a ball on the fly. If a ball is hit on the fly, and a player falls into the Kitchen, the point is lost. If the ball bounces in the kitchen, then stepping into the kitchen is allowed. Hitting short “dinks”, that bounce in the kitchen, while all players are close to the nets, makes the game exciting. 

Winning Points and the Game

Score points by serving deep and returning deep. Try to hit the third shot into the kitchen (3rd shot drop) to make your opponent’s run to the net. Pick up the pace by hitting high balls with more pace. Slow down the game, by dinking into the kitchen. Hit the ball in the middle of the court, or down the end lines. Try hitting at your opponent’s feet or at open sports in the court. Missed points often happen when someone hits into the net or out of bounds. Games are played to 11, generally best 2 out of 3 games. Again, scoring only occurs on the serving side. Games must be won by 2 points, so the score may go higher in the event of a tie.

Warm Up Before Play

Walk for 10 minutes, lunge side to side, walk or run backward, and shuffle right and left to warm up all the muscles of your lower body. Warm up on the court with dinks bouncing into the kitchen with your opponents. Hit a few longer shots. Try a few serves. Ready to play!


Watch the Pros

You may read about former professional tennis players taking on Pickleball with a vengeance (McEnroe is performing his same theatrics!). Retired basketball, football and baseball players are also getting in the mix. There is also a professional level of pickleball that is exciting and draws large crowds.

 Try the fastest-growing sport in the country and you will “get it”. This fun, engaging social game will hook you the first time you play. Take a lesson or drill to develop the basic skills and to improve. Don’t get “pickled” when you lose a game 0-11!


by Christy Coughlin – Wellness Coach