People could get hooked on the popular game of pickleball, players warn.

"Once you whack that pickleball, you are addicted," said Karen Smith, Christian Life Center director at Muskogee First Baptist Church.

The Christian Life Center will host an introductory pickleball class 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday. The class is free, but registration is required.

Smith described pickleball as "pingpong, badminton and tennis all wrapped into one game." 

The game involves bopping a plastic ball with holes in it across a net. 

"That air gets in those balls and it puts a spin on it," Smith said. "Those holes make it not going exactly where you want it. You can go for a ball and it misses your paddle by an inch."

She warned that it is addictive.

"Because it is so much fun," she said. "You laugh at yourself."

Smith said she tried playing tennis when she was younger, but didn't like it. 

"It's way too much work," she said.

The game also is a good way to meet people.

"You can play singles in pickleball, but doubles is more social," she said. "You have friends. You meet people you might never have crossed paths with. It can be a family game, as well."

Francie Wright said she's been playing pickleball for six years.

"It's great exercise, and it's the best thing for people my age," Wright said. 

Smith said people of all ages can enjoy the game and excel at it.

"They've got people in their 80s and 90s still playing pickleball, and some of them can still smoke some these young whippersnappers," Smith said. "It involves strategy and ball placement."

The church has open pickleball court 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Christian Life Center's basketball court has space for three pickleball courts.

Smith said all three courts are busy on some days, but wide open on other days.

"You either bring in with you someone to play with because there's no guarantee someone's going to be here," Smith said. "Some people who have signed up are bringing friends. Then, they can at least play singles and work on some skills. If somebody else shows up, they can play doubles. The more you can get people hooked up in pairs, the more you can bring larger groups of people in."

The game is wildly popular in places like Broken Arrow, she said. 

"You can come to open court and lay your paddle down and get in line to play and rotate."

If you go

WHAT: Pickleball lessons.

WHEN: 2-4 p.m. Wednesday. 

WHERE: Christian Life Center gym, Muskogee First Baptist Church, 111 S. Seventh St. 


TO REGISTER: Call (918) 682-2301, email or go to

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