HPER offers a fast-growing sport to fall courses

by Jordana Newman  |   

If you’ve been around town or visiting other cities recently, you may have noticed a popular sport is taking over the tennis courts - pickleball! This is why the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) is excited to announce it is offering the sport at UAA for the first time starting this fall.

“HPER decided to offer this course because of the growing popularity of the game, the low barriers to participation, and its fun!” says HPER program chair T.J. Miller. 

HPER program chair T.J. Miller
HPER program chair T.J. Miller (Photo by James Evans/University of Alaska Anchorage)

According to usapickleball.org, the game originated in Washington in 1965 when ping-pong paddles were used in substitution for badminton rackets and it slowly started growing from there. However, it has recently become the fastest-growing sport in the United States, with 4.8 million players in the country as of 2021, growing 11.5 percent on average over the previous five years (according to scmp.com).

“I’m excited to see how quickly students can begin learning the game and having fun,” says pickleball professional Aaron Haines. “This is a great way to exercise and I find most people tend to play for hours at a time not noticing how fast the time goes by, which keeps them coming back to a game that helps them stay happy and healthy.”

Haines will be the instructor for the new UAA pickleball course, which means students will be learning from the best as he was the men's doubles champion at Anchorage’s first pickleball tournament and is the top singles pickleball player in the state of Alaska.

Miller says any UAA student can sign up for the one credit PER A190 Pickleball course and this is a great way for students to learn a great game, meet new students, and get active while reducing stress and adding an extra credit to their schedule. 

The course will be offered Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. in the Seawolf Sports Complex gym. For more information or to learn about other HPER courses, visit the HPER website or contact hper@alaska.edu.