Why is Pickleball So Popular? The Whole Story!

No comments
why is pickleball so popular

This new sport with a funny name is one of the fastest-growing sports in America, and it’s gaining footholds around the world as well.

It seems to have sprouted suddenly, but that’s because of all the buzz. Everyone is either playing it or talking about it nowadays.

Pickleball has been around for decades. It was created in 1965 as a family recreational activity, and it’s been constantly evolving and spreading since then.

You too might be wondering, why is pickleball so popular? Read on to find out all about it!

What Exactly Is Pickleball?

It’s a hybrid sport that has a lot in common with tennis, table tennis, and badminton. It’s actually much more than just a sport, it’s often a social gathering and a fun activity.

This magic mix is most probably the secret behind its charm.

Pickleball is a game of ball and racket, and like every other aspect of the game, they’re both quite unique.

The racket is called a paddle, and the ball is a perforated plastic thing. The game can be played in singles or doubles, usually mixed teams form up and play.

It’s amazing how pickleball is equally favored across age groups and genders. The folks above retirement age find it especially well suited for their needs  and the young revel in its informality and simplicity.

Indoors or Outdoors? Where Is Pickleball Played?

Pickleball is an attractive sport for all ages, and according to a report produced by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) in 2016, roughly 75% of pickleball core players are 55 and older.

Playing in the outdoors is more fun, but it also means being increasingly subjected to the elements.

Getting more fresh air sunlight is good, getting too much cold air and harsh sunlight might not be as good. Balance and constant hydration usually sort that out.

Currently, the majority of playfields are indoors, but players are quite enthusiastic about taking their game outside.

Parks and recreation divisions responded to this growing trend by rehabilitating the tennis courts  and adapting them for pickleball. Nice!

The rising popularity of this sport and the increasing number of available venues are feeding off one another, and the result is all the buzz we’re hearing and a rush of new players.

Why is Pickleball so Popular?

I think this question has been repeating since the 1960s  when the game was first played. Here are some of the reasons why it’s so popular:

The Rules Are Simple

I’ll compare this game to cricket. They have a whole book of game rules, and most of them have changed over the years. Some rules were altered three times in less than ten years!

The rule book for pickleball is really a single page of clear actions and reactions. Newcomers learn the ropes in about ten minutes from any player in the field.

Usually, such encounters end up with the curious stranger grabbing a paddle and sending off some balls.

Friends who prefer cheering can do so easily, as they can follow who is doing what, and why they’re winning or losing. You can’t do that with cricket.

Anyone Can Play

Age isn’t an issue with pickleball, and it doesn’t favor one gender over the other. The games are actually more often than not a mixture of young and old, men and women.

It’s a lot like a family gathering where grandparents, children, and grandchildren share an activity. None of them is particularly good at it but they have so much fun.

It Doesn’t Need Much Gear

You only need a paddle, a ball, and a net. It’s easy to set it up in a backyard and get the fun going.

Having a game at your house usually turns into a daily event. You could unwind with family and friends, or raise the stakes a little and have a tournament.

This is what you need to play the game:

  • Paddle with the shape that you like
  • Ball with really odd perforations
  • Comfortable sportswear
  • A net and poles for home games
  • A good playing companion

The familiarity that results from games that don’t need much preparation is a propeller of its spread. Think about soccer and basketball, they’re called ‘street games’ for a reason.

It Doesn’t Need Much Fitness

The game you can play to relax is a blessing. The world is too full of high-intensity games that make you sore for a week after a couple of matches.

I like to exercise and the lively spirit of competition, but I can’t think about a two-hour tennis game after a full day at work.

The court is quite small, it’s about a quarter of a tennis court. Moving from one side to the other and returning balls is more fun and involves less effort.

It’s a Social Event

Meeting people is usually reviving and it adds a refreshing dimension to daily activities, unless you’re an introvert, of course, but even these folks can enjoy the occasional pickleball game.

The norm with pickleball is that newcomers could walk into a court, say Hi, and ask if they could join the game.

The green ones usually start from scratch, and plenty of the more seasoned players are willing to help in explaining the basics and sharing gear.

Core players are much more consistent in frequenting their clubs or parks, and part of that is meeting friends. People bond over shared activities more than anything else.

Its Competitive Side

A good deal of pickleball players used to play tennis but parted ways with it on account of decreased ability, or increased workload.

Pickleball provides such players with the rush they used to feel in tennis as they play against tough opponents, and earn tough wins.

It’s just more adjusted to their current physical state or lifestyle demands. It’s not settling for something ‘less’ as much as finding a ‘better fit’.

Long Story Short

Joel Pritchard, congressman, and his buddy Bill Bell, business tycoon, invented pickleball one afternoon in 1965.

It was intended as an activity to bring the family together and ward off boredom. Neighbors and friends saw the festivities and they wanted to join in.

The cheerful and amusing nature of pickleball is the main reason why it caught on so quickly.  The fact that it’s a sport that doesn’t need a high skill level or complicated gear helps of course.

Other factors gave pickleball national and international weight. It was made into a corporation in 1972, the media publicized it in 1975, and the next year witnessed the first tournament.

That’s how the social, recreational, and business aspects of pickleball made it the popular sport it is today.

Like what you're reading?

Get tips and tricks to become the best Pickleball player you can be!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *