A Growing Sport
Pickleball is said to be the fastest growing sport in the United States today. Currently, over four million Americans play it.
Invented in 1965 by 3 middle-aged men in Washington State, the game was said to be named after the family dog named Pickles. A cross between tennis and ping pong, it has become an especially popular sport because it can be easily played by people of all ages.
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Who is Playing?
Currently Pickleball is mostly played by people over the age of 65 but is rapidly gaining popularity among players of all ages. It is popular among an older age group because it is similar to tennis but a bit easier to play. Many retirement communities like The Villages in Florida have a thriving Pickleball scene.
Played on a smaller court (20’ X 44’, more like the size of a badminton court as opposed to the much bigger 78’ x 27’ court that is used in tennis). It is normally played in doubles, the sport is lighter on the knees, hips, legs, etc.
Like tennis, however, Pickleball aids in improving balance and agility which also appeals to the older player.
Pickleball Vs. Tennis
There are 5 major differences between Pickleball and tennis. First, Pickleball is played with hard paddles instead of racquets which have strings. Secondly, Pickle Ball uses a hollow wiffle ball which is more conducive to hitting with a paddle. The ball pops off the paddle without applying a significant amount of force. Because the ball leaves the paddle so quickly, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to put a spin on the ball. Thirdly, there are different balls used for inside and outside play. The fourth thing that is different is that Pickleball can be more easily played indoors as the game can be played on any volleyball or basketball court.
Lastly, Pickleball does not allow overhand serving
Pickleball is normally played to 11 points, requiring players to win by two points, unlike tennis
Volleying is not allowed on the service return … or the return of that ball.
“While tennis remains a country club tradition, Pickle Ball’s low profile and relative ease makes it more accessible – a sport that almost anyone can pick up fairly quickly”. (K. Baker, Axios Sports, 2021, pg. 2).
Today in the United States, schools are beginning to add Pickleball instruction to their physical educational programs. Additionally, it is rapidly becoming a professional sport as corporate sponsors are beginning to invest money in the game.
Gaining in popularity are publications that highlight the sport such as In Pickleball and equipment and apparel brands like Recess.
Pickle Ball organizations, such as the USA Pickleball Association, have begun to sponsor tournaments for players. These organizations have also made application to the Olympics Committee to compete in the 2028 Olympics.
Pickle Ball has become the fastest growing sport in the U.S. today. It may be considered an easier sport than tennis the game still requires a significant amount of practice
Elizabeth McVey, Author, 2022
If you haven’t heard of Pickleball before, you’re not alone! This sport is relatively new but gaining popularity at a rapid pace. So, what exactly is Pickleball? It’s a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and ping pong. Pickleball is played on a smaller court than tennis, with a lower net, and uses a hard paddle and a perforated plastic ball. The game can be played either indoors or outdoors and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels.
What sets Pickleball apart from other sports is its focus on inclusive nature and sportsmanship. The sport is designed to be easy to learn and fun to play, making it accessible to players of all ages and skill levels. Additionally, the culture of the sport emphasizes good sportsmanship and respect for opponents.
In recent years, Pickleball has gone beyond just a fun activity for retirees and has become a competitive sport. Tournaments and professional players now exist, and there are even efforts to get Pickleball included in the Olympics.
Overall, Pickleball is a fun and exciting sport that is easy to learn but still requires practice to master. It’s no wonder it has become the fastest growing sport in the U.S. Give Pickleball a try and see what all the hype is about!