Pickleball: The Fastest Growing Sport in America
What is Pickleball?
Did you ever find yourself wanting to try a new sport? Something that’s easy to learn and fun to play, maybe even difficult to master so it keeps your interest. Look no further than pickleball.
Let’s find out why pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States.
Pickleball is considered a racquet sport that borrows elements from tennis, badminton, and ping pong. Some say it looks like a shrunken down version of tennis, and it’s even played on a smaller, modified tennis court.
It’s rise to popularity is due to its accessibility. A wide range of ages, skill levels, and fitness levels are always welcomed onto a pickleball court. It’s also relatively inexpensive to begin playing because all you need are a pair of sneakers, and at most clubs you’re able to borrow a paddle.
A Quick Rundown of the Rules
- The ball must stay within the lines of the court
- The ball must bounce once on the opposite side of the net before its hit
- Server must serve from the baseline
- The serve cannot land in the no-volley zone
- The game typically ends when one team reaches 11 points
The History of Pickleball
Washington State congressman Joel Pritchard and his friend Bill Bell came up with the idea of pickleball in 1965, when they came home from playing golf one summer’s day to see their kids with nothing to do.
They quickly went to work looking for sports equipment in Pritchard’s home. What they found was a badminton net with the rackets no one to be found, so they improvised with ping pong paddles and an old wiffle ball. They played based off the rules of badminton and lowered the net. And that’s how pickleball was born.
The story behind the name is a bit trickier to pin down. The tale that usually floats around the pickleball courts is that the sport was named after the Pritchard’s dog, Pickles. But those close to the family say the dog was named after the sport. The Pritchard family reports that the term comes from rowing: a boat that has a mismatched crew in terms of strength and skill is called a pickle boat. Very fitting when you consider they pulled equipment from three different sports.
Why is Pickleball So Popular?
There was a 650% increase in the amount of pickleball players between 2013 and 2019. Even during pandemic times when we were all regulated to keeping to our houses, pickleball experienced another boom of about 14.8% from 2020 to 2021.
The USA Pickleball Association calls pickleball “highly contagious” with most of its core players—who play more than eight times a year—are over the age of 65. But the game is getting younger, especially with the development of the pro tour, and tournaments popping up all over the U.S.
Pickleball is even expanding into the new Web3 world. Game developers are creating apps–like PICKLEZONE–where players can play their favorite sport while easily earning and investing in NFTs and cryptocurrency.
Here are several reasons why people love pickleball:
- Anyone can play, from children to older adults
- It’s easier on the body, less running, less joint stress
- Highly social sport
Pickleball is a great sport to be a part of whether you’re looking for something to keep you active or something to help you make some new friends. This sport has something to offer everyone.