Pickleball action at Namboole Stadium parking yard

The game of Pickleball is a paddleball non-contact sport (similar to a racket sport) that combines elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis.

It is arguably regarded as the fast growing sport by far in the United States of America (USA).

Although this game was invented in the mid-1960’s, it was only introduced in Uganda by 2018 courtesy of Robert Bakaze.

Faisal Banja who is now the association president as the body engages the National Council of Sports (NCS) for fully registration after they were certified by the global body, International Federation of Pickleball (IFP).

Pickleball training at Namboole Stadium parking yard

“We have had a promising progress of Pickleball in Uganda and so far, many youngsters are joining the game” Banja told Kawowo Sports.

Namboole Pickleball club is the latest to join the family of this game played on a hard surface with a net in-between.

Other clubs include; Kamengo, Nkozi University and Sharing Youth.


Uganda Pickleball Association composition:

Faisal Banja is the president. The first vice president (administration) is Raymond Kiddu and Ozil Bagonza is the second vice president (marketing).

Emmanuel Aupal is the general secretary, Tommy Senfuma (organizing secretary), Joseph Mayanja (treasurer) and Francis Ngambeki (technical director).

Public Relations Officer (PRO) is Sadam Senoga with two club representatives; Victoria Namubiru and Dan Wabudeya.

Some of the Pickleball players from Namboole club after a training session

How the game is played:

Pickleball is between two or four players using solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, much like a wiffle ball, with 26–40 round holes, over a net.

The sport shares features of other racket sports: the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net and rules somewhat similar to tennis, with several modifications.

Pickleball was invented in the mid-1960s as a children’s backyard game.

The spread of the sport is attributed to its popularity within community centers, physical education classes, public parks, private health clubs, YMCA facilities and retirement communities.

 There are two annual pickleball tournaments in the United States – U.S. Pickleball National Championships and U.S. Open Pickleball Championship – as well as numerous international championships.

Some of Namboole Pickleball players

Uganda Pickleball Association

  • President: Faisal Banja
  • 1st Vice President (Administration): Raymond Kiddu
  • 2nd Vice President (Marketing): Ozil Bagonza
  • General Secretary: Emmanuel Aupal
  • Organizing Secretary: Tommy Senfuma
  • Treasurer: Joseph Mayanja
  • Technical Director: Francis Ngambeki
  • Public Relations Officer (PRO): Sadam Senoga
  • Club Representatives: Victoria Namubiru & Dan Wabudeya

Pickleball Terminology:

Around-the-post (ATPA) shot: This travels outside the net posts, allowing its trajectory to stay below the height of the net.

Baseline: The line at the back of the pickleball court (22 feet from the net).

Bash: A hard shot that hits the top of the net (i.e. the tape) and then lands in play on the opponent’s side of the court. A bash is typically unintentional and very difficult to return as the ball changes speed and/or direction due to contact with the net.

Carry: A pickle-baller returning a serve with backhand. Hitting the ball in such a way that it does not bounce away from the paddle but tends to be carried along on the face of the paddle. This is a fault.

Centerline: The line bisecting the service courts that extends from the non-volley line to the baseline.

Crosscourt: The opponent’s court diagonally opposite a player’s.

Dink: A dink is a soft shot, made with the paddle face open, and hit so that it just clears the net and drops into the non-volley zone.

Erne: A volley hit near the net by a player positioned outside the court or in the process of leaping outside the court. A legally executed erne shot allows a player to hit the ball closer to the net without stepping in the non-volley zone.

Fault: An infringement of the rules that ends the rally.

Foot fault: Stepping on or into the non-volley zone while volleying a ball, or, while serving, failure to keep both feet behind the baseline with at least one foot in contact with the ground or floor when the paddle contacts the ball.

Forex: A chant historically called by serving players when the score is 9-5 in their favor to bring good luck to end the game.

Gentleman’s rally: A rally mostly made up of soft returns and easy to return volley hits.

Half-volley: A type of hit where the player hits the ball immediately after it has bounced in an almost scoop-like fashion.

Kitchen: The non-volley zone which is seven feet from the net on both sides is commonly referred to as “the kitchen”. Players may not enter the kitchen in the act of volleying the ball.

Lob: Hitting the ball in a high arc to the back of the opponent’s court. Ideally designed to clear an opponent who has advanced toward the net.

Nasty Nelson: A serve that intentionally hits the non-receiving opposing player closest to the net, rewarding the point to the server.

Non-volley zone: A seven-foot area adjacent to the net within which one may not volley the ball. The non-volley zone includes all lines around it. Also called the “kitchen”. Out-of-the-jar. When a player hits a ball out of the pickleball court’s entire boundaries, such as over the fences.PoachIn doubles, to cross over into one’s partner’s area to make a play on the ball.

Rally: Hitting the ball back and forth between opposite teams.

Serve, service: An underarm lob or drive stroke used to put a ball into play at the beginning of a point.

Server number: When playing doubles, either “1” or “2”, depending on whether one is the first or second server for one’s side. This number is appended to the score when it is called, as in “the score is now 4–2, second server”.

Sideline: The line at the side of the court denoting in- and out-of-bounds.

Side-out: When the serve moves to the opponent’s side.

Volley: To hit the ball before it touches the ground and bounces.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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