My grandsons love Pickleball and yours will too

PickleballI’ve had fun reviewing books with my grandsons, Addison and Vishal, and was looking for some kind of game we could try when the message arrived from ZUME games. I’m usually skeptical of offers of products to review – and have had a long-standing policy of only writing about products and books I genuinely enjoyed – but I have to say, the list of games made by ZUME grabbed my attention immediately.

GoTek, a portable basketball hoop, Hook N’ Ring, described as “an addictive toss game,” Bean Bag featuring a wooden target, Bottle Battle, a “fast-paced disc game,” and a bunch of others all sounded good, among the very portable games that ZUME featured on the list.

Pickleball on the lakeSo I forwarded the list to my daughter Rebekah, and asked her to choose one or two for Addi and V to try. They chose Pickleball and Badminton. After the family returned from France, where they spent a couple of weeks and attended two championship soccer games, I got a photo showing the boys playing pickleball – in the lake! I’m betting no other kids have tried that!

Here’s what Rebekah had to say about pickleball and badminton.

Rebekah’s Review

Pickleball twoZume Pickleball has been a huge hit in our family.  Having never played Pickleball, we weren’t sure what to expect.  The directions were easy to follow and we had it quickly set up.  Essentially it is a cross between ping pong and tennis, where you use wooden paddles to volley a plastic ball over a net. Court boundary lines can be made with cones, shirts, or whatever is handy.  We are planning to actually paint boundary lines on our lawn, which already contains a lined soccer field, once we decide on the Pickleball game’s permanent location.  It can be easily moved so for now, in the hot summer sun, it is frequently moved to a shady spot.

The boys have come up with multiple versions of the straightforward one on one game.  They have created Pickleball tournaments and also a tag team version of the game.  We set it up on our float down at the lake, which could accommodate only two of the normal four rods across the bottom of the net, making for a fun mini-version of the game.  Two kids wielded the paddles while two other boys were assigned ball-fetching duties, requiring them to jump in the lake each time the ball overshot the float, which served as the court.  Luckily the ball floats so it was a fun job!

It’s also easy to assemble and transport, resulting in a well-traveled Pickleball game.  Our own game has been to the beach, the dock at the lake, and multiple friends’ houses.

Pickleball one


We have also enjoyed the Zume portable badminton net.  It’s also best played by two since the net is not particularly large and it is also easily portable and moved around on your lawn.



More Information

Clearly, while the boys like the badminton game, they are enthralled with Pickleball. You can probably tell that from the photos. Both games come in convenient carry cases, so they can be easily moved to different locations. Here are the descriptions of the two games, from ZUME.

Pickleball (69.99) is a convenient portable version of the competitive paddle sport that combines tennis, racquetball and table tennis. A unique and easy-to-play game for all fitness levels – making Pickleball the fastest growing sport in America!

Badminton ($99.99) features a weighted base that eliminates the set-up issue with traditional stake and pole sets. The base also doubles as a convenient carrying case for all equipment (no tools required).

These game are available on,, and at select sporting goods retailers nationwide.


George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.