Learn To Play Pickleball with Austin’s Recess
The brand’s stylish equipment and charming ‘how-to’ guides make the sport accessible for everyone
By Meher Qazilbash
Photos by Grace Moore
Video by The Southern Influence
There’s a rising passion for pickleball across the United States and particularly in Austin, too.
Recess Pickleball, a local business founded by Maggie Brown and Grace Moore, is helping build excitement around the sport, creating chic pickleball equipment and whimsical ‘how-to’ guides for new players. (If you’re curious about how to play pickleball, start with the above video.)
We also had the chance to speak with Brown about pickleball’s growing popularity and Recess’ mission to make the sport more approachable.
For readers who aren’t entirely familiar with pickleball, can you tell us how to play?
Pickleball is kind of like a mix between tennis and ping-pong. It’s played on a smaller court with a composite paddle made out of lightweight plastic and the ball that’s used is a wiffle ball. It’s a pretty ‘low barrier to entry’ sport because the ball is easy to hit and the paddle is lightweight. We say it takes about 5 minutes to get a hang of hitting the ball and 15 minutes to really love the sport.
Pickleball is now the fastest growing sport in the US, why do you think that is?
I think the pandemic definitely expedited the rise of pickleball in particular. There was this nostalgia for all of these heritage sports. People were looking for something to do and picking up new hobbies. In addition to that, it kind of came to the surface when outdoor recreation was at a premium, and when people were trying to find social ways to gather outside. It’s not technical, it’s super fun, easy to learn and anybody can play. It’s multi-generational so you can have anywhere from your grandmother, your neighbor, your best friend, your parents or your toddler. It’s really a sport for everyone.
They’re a certain playfulness in Recess’ aesthetic and products. Can you tell us about that intention and what you had in mind?
When we started playing pickleball we were having so much fun and playing all the time. We went to buy paddles at places like Academy and Amazon and everything was neon or black, in very competitive tones. Just not cool at all. We saw an opportunity and what went through my head was, ‘pickleball is so fun, your paddle should be too.’
We started looking into sourcing them and wanted to stay rooted to a heritage kind of nostalgia for the new old thing. We chose our colors with a very retro inspiration and also drew inspiration for the paddles themselves from Austin. Our adult paddles are all named after Austin neighborhoods.
When I saw your paddles I first thought of Wes Anderson.
That was one of our biggest inspirations! We’re really trying to approach the sport from a very recreational standpoint and just more for our generation and people who are just looking for something to do outside. In addition to that, there’s no good content surrounding pickleball, and that’s definitely an avenue we’re trying to tap into as well. We want to make the game as accessible and easy to understand as possible.
What are some of your favorite Recess products?
I feel like I am constantly changing which paddle I love the most, but right now I have a major crush on the Goldie. She is cute and fun and the sanded texture surface gives her a little unexpected spice in a game. I am also loving our court bag. The ideal carry-all for pickleball paddles, pickleballs and courtside snacks. And don’t forget to pick up a pair of our court socks for your next game!