What is Pickleball - the new sport in Bristol played by stars from Kim Kardashian to Brene Brown

  • Watch ITV News West Country Chris Spittle's report here.

One of the fastest-growing sports in the United States has landed in the South West and is growing across the region.

Pickleball contains elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis and is a racket sport enjoyed by celebrities like George Clooney, Kim Kardashian and Friends actor Matthew Perry.

It’s even been tipped to be included in future Olympic Games and there are clubs springing up across the West with groups in Bristol, Swindon, and Charlton Adam near Yeovil.

Roberto Rospo is one of a growing number of qualified pickleball coaches across the West Country and the former tennis player believes the game’s simplicity is making it popular.

The coach in Emersons Green, South Gloucestershire, said: "I think it’s very easy to learn, it’s very easy to pick up.

"It’s not as strenuous on your body like other racket sports. You can play a game after literally an hour of coaching.

"It’s very easy to put up a court – you just need the net and a badminton court. Sometimes not even that. During lockdown, we played in a car park.

"It’s very easy to put on and very easy to learn - this is why it’s growing really fast."

What is pickleball?

  • It’s a sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis

  • It can be played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a slightly modified tennis net.

  • It is played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes.

  • It can be played as doubles or singles.

  • It can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels

The sport is played with a plastic paddle bat and a plastic ball - not unlike those found in children’s tennis sets.

The court dimensions are the same as a badminton court while the net is lower than its tennis equivalent.

Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court with a lower net and is played with plastic rackets and balls Credit: ITV West Country

Players in Emersons Green said they enjoy playing the sport. One woman said: “I’m getting a bit older now so it’s a real good mix between tennis, badminton so it’s just a real fun quick fast-paced game."

Another player said: "It’s all different age groups that can all play against each other because there’s a lot of skill here” while another described it as “completely and utterly baffling but great fun."

A host of Hollywood A-listers are said to be massive fans of this growing sport and Roberto believes the publicity has helped the sport.

He said: "I think that’s helped the sport to grow – the support from the celebrities and the fact that they play has been in the media so that’s really helped us to grow."

Legend has it that when the game was invented in Washington in 1965 it was named after the inventor's dog, Pickles.

By 1990 it had spread to all 50 states, and by 2001 it was featured at the Arizona Senior Olympics.