Pickleball is taking the world by storm and for good reasons. The fastest-growing sport in America for two years running is a quick, easy-to-learn game perfect for people of all ages and skill levels.
Invented in 1965 in Bainbridge Island, Washington, pickleball gained popularity during the pandemic and has skyrocketed post-pandemic, with more than 36.5 million people playing from August 2021 to August 2022, according to a new report by the Association of Pickleball Professionals.
What’s the Dill?
Pickleball is a mashup game combining tennis, badminton, and ping pong elements. It is played on a court similar in size to a badminton court, with a low net dividing it in half. The game is played with two or four players, and the serving side accrues points. The winner is the first side to get 11 points with a 2-point lead is the winner.
The rules are simple, and you can start playing immediately, even if you’ve never played a racquet sport. But don’t let the simplicity fool you – pickleball can be a competitive and very lucrative sport. Pro pickleball teams are a hot commodity these days. Star athletes ranging from LeBron James and Tom Brady to Kevin Durant and Patrick Mahomes are bringing more high-profile attention to the sport by investing in professional teams.
The sport requires minimal equipment. All you need is a paddle, ball, and athletic footwear. Paddles can range in price from $20 to $200, depending on quality and materials. The ball is similar to a wiffle ball, with small holes that help create its unique flight pattern.
Pickleball can be played on different surfaces, including indoor and outdoor courts. Across the country, tennis courts are being replaced with pickleball courts, while investors are creating new pickleball opportunities, such as a 15-court facility called The Pickleball Club outside of Sarasota, Florida.
“We see pickleball as an incredible medium that brings people together, connects communities, and promotes healthy and active lifestyles.” Drew Brees
Relish the Fun
Pickleball is unique in that it’s a very inclusive sport. People of all ages and abilities can play together, and there’s a real sense of community among pickleball players. According to the 2022 Sports & Fitness Industry report, more than half (52%) of core players—those who play eight or more times a year—are 55 or older, and almost a third (32.7%) are 65-plus. So whether you’re a retired senior looking for a fun way to stay active, or an avid athlete looking for a new challenge, there’s a place for you in the world of pickleball.
If you’re interested in trying pickleball, plenty of resources are available to help you get started and find local courts. Many community centers and sports clubs offer pickleball lessons and open play sessions, so you can try it out without making a big commitment. Pickleball is meant to be enjoyed, so don’t take it too seriously; connect with friends and relish the fun!
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