If you are looking for a fun, social and friendly sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels, you might want to give Pickleball Games a try. Pickleball is a racket/paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, and it is taking the world by storm.
Pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, by three dads who wanted to create a game for their bored kids. They used a badminton court, a net, some paddles and a plastic ball with holes, and came up with a simple but addictive game that they named after their dog Pickles.
Pickleball is played on a court that is the same size as a doubles badminton court (20 x 44 feet), with a net that is 34 inches high in the middle and 36 inches high at the sidelines. The court is divided into two halves by the net, and each half has two service courts and a 7-foot non-volley zone (also known as the “kitchen”) in front of the net.
Pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors, with two players (singles) or four players (doubles). The players use solid-faced paddles that are slightly larger than table tennis paddles, and a light plastic ball that has 26 to 40 holes. The ball is similar to a wiffle ball, but smaller and more durable.
The goal of the game is to knock the ball over the net and into the court of your opponent while avoiding doing the same to you. Only one bounce on each side of the net is allowed before the ball must be returned. Only outside the non-volley zone may players volley the ball, which is defined as hitting the ball in the air without allowing it to bounce. The non-volley zone is intended to stop players from close-range ball smashing.
The game starts with an underhand serve from behind the baseline, diagonally across the court to the opposite service court. The serve must clear the net and land in bounds. Only one fault (a missed serve or an out-of-bounds hit) is allowed per serve. The serving side gets to score points when they win a rally (a continuous exchange of shots until one side commits a fault). The receiving side does not score points but gets to serve when they win a rally. The game is usually played to 11 points, and the winning side must win by two points. In this article, we will tell you what pickleball is, how to play it, and why it is so popular.
Why is Pickleball So Popular?
Pickleball has been growing rapidly in popularity in recent years, especially in the United States and Canada, but also in other parts of the world. According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, pickleball was named the fastest-growing sport in the United States for three consecutive years (2021, 2022 and 2023), and by 2023 it was estimated to have over 4.8 million players2. There are now thousands of pickleball courts, clubs, tournaments and leagues across the country, as well as two professional tours and one professional league.
There are many reasons why pickleball appeals to so many people. Here are some of them:
- It is easy to learn and play. Pickleball has simple rules and equipment, and anyone can pick up a paddle and start playing right away. It does not require much prior experience or skill in racket sports, although it can also challenge advanced players with its fast pace and strategic options.
- It is fun and social. Pickleball is a game that encourages interaction and camaraderie among players. It is often played in doubles, which fosters teamwork and communication. It also creates a friendly and supportive community of players who share their passion for the sport.
- It is good for health and fitness. Pickleball provides a great workout for both the body and the mind. It improves cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, coordination, balance, agility, reflexes and reaction time. It also stimulates mental alertness, concentration, decision-making and problem-solving skills.
- It is adaptable and accessible. Pickleball can be played by people of different ages, genders, backgrounds and abilities. It can be played indoors or outdoors, on any flat surface that can accommodate a net and a court. It can be played casually or competitively, depending on the preference and level of the players.
- It is affordable and convenient. Pickleball does not require much investment or maintenance. The equipment is relatively inexpensive and durable, and the court is small and easy to set up. It can be played in public parks, schools, community centers, gyms, backyards, or driveways.
How to Get Started with Pickleball?
Here are some pointers on how to get started with pickleball if you’re interested in giving it a try:
- Locate a location to play. On websites like Places 2 Play or Pickleball Central, you may search for pickleball courts, clubs, or events close to where you are. Local pickleball groups may also be found on social media websites like Facebook or Meetup.
- Grab the tools. To play pickleball, you’ll need a paddle, a ball, and a net. They are available for purchase online, in sporting goods stores, or you may borrow them from a buddy or a group. Additionally, you are free to wear whatever comfortable attire and shoes are appropriate for the surrounding environment and the playing surface.
- Learn the fundamentals and the laws. On the website of the USA Pickleball Association, you can access pickleball’s official regulations as well as instructional videos and guides. To obtain a feel for the game, you may also watch some online matches or instructional on YouTube or other websites.
- Find some partners or opponents. You can play pickleball with anyone who is willing to join you, whether they are your friends, family members, neighbors or strangers. You can also join a local pickleball club or group, where you can meet new people and improve your skills.
- Have fun and enjoy the game. Pickleball is a sport that is meant to be fun, social and friendly. Don’t worry too much about winning or losing, but focus on having a good time and learning something new.
How pickleball is growing and spreading across the world
One of the most impressive aspects of pickleball is how fast and far it has grown and spread across the world. Here are some evidence and examples of pickleball’s remarkable expansion:
According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, pickleball was named the fastest-growing sport in the United States for three consecutive years (2021, 2022 and 2023), and by 2023 it was estimated to have over 8.9 million players. This represents a growth rate of 158.6% for the three-year period (2020-22), and an increase of 85.7% in 2022 alone. The number of players playing pickleball has nearly doubled in the seven years from 2014 to 21.
Pickleball is not only popular in the United States, but also in other countries such as Canada, Mexico, India, Spain, France, Germany, Japan, Australia and more1. The International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) was established in 2010 to promote the sport globally and to organize international tournaments and events. As of 2023, the IFP has over 40 member countries and regions.
Pickleball has also witnessed some notable events and achievements in its history, such as the US National Championships, the U.S. Open Tournament, the professional tours and leagues, and the official state sport of Washington1. The US National Championships is the oldest and largest pickleball tournament in the world, dating back to 1984. The U.S. Open Tournament is another major event that attracts thousands of players and spectators every year since 2016. The professional tours and leagues are relatively new developments that showcase the best players and teams in the sport. In 2022, pickleball was named the official state sport of Washington, where it was invented.
Pickleball has also made a positive impact on the lives of many players who have experienced physical, mental, social and emotional benefits from playing the sport. For example, Jennifer Lucore, a multiple-time national champion, credits pickleball for helping
her cope with her mother’s death from cancer. Dave Weinbach, another national champion, says that pickleball has given him a sense of purpose and joy after retiring from his corporate career. Many other players have shared their stories and testimonials of how pickleball has improved their health, fitness, relationships, confidence, happiness, and more.
There is something for everyone in pickleball. It is simple to learn, enjoyable to play, beneficial to health and fitness, flexible and accessible, inexpensive, and practical. It is also a sport that is reshaping the sports industry by drawing athletes from a variety of generations and backgrounds. You might want to give pickleball a try if you’re seeking a new pastime or endeavor that can improve your quality of life.