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Why Is Pickleball so Popular?

Why Is Pickleball so Popular?

Many of us had never even heard of pickleball just a year or two ago and now it seems like everyone and their mother is playing. And it may be that they are. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, there are now 4.8 million pickleball players in the U.S., with participation up nearly 40 percent between 2019 and 2021, making it America’s fastest-growing sport. While initially viewed as a sport for retirees, the vast majority of recreational players are now under 55, and the fastest growing segment is players under 24.

Whenever I meet someone new and tell them I recently launched a pickleball brand, they can relate. Either they recently started playing, they’ve been wanting to start playing or their parents are “obsessed”. 

There are a few reasons why pickleball is so popular:

  1. Almost anyone can play

Pickleball players range in age from 8 to 90. In tournament play, there are currently brackets ranging from 19+ to 80+, but USA Pickleball now has a very active Junior’s Program for 18 and under as well. One of the great things about pickleball is that young and old players can play together, competitively, on the same court. Currently, the oldest professional pickler is 90 years old and the youngest is 12. And the sport is very inclusive. There are several professional players with disabilities and a whole movement for wheelchair-bound players called Para Pickleball. We’ve also seen several players on the court with oxygen tanks strapped to their backs. 

2. It’s very easy to learn

Pickleball is one of the easiest sports to learn. It doesn’t require a lot of athletic ability--just a minimum amount of hand-eye coordination. The rules are fairly simple and there aren’t too many. Most people can understand the basics of pickleball within about 15 minutes, and know enough to play real games right away.

3. You can play almost anywhere

Pickleball can be played indoors, outdoors, on a tennis court, on a gym floor, or even on the street. There are more than 38,000 courts across the U.S. with additional ones opening every day. We’ve seen them in all kinds of crazy places, too, such as this one at JFK Airport in New York City: CityPickle at JFK
They've also played on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. I have a friend in Connecticut who recently set up a court in their office hallway to play at work.  And we've even heard stories about people playing on cruise ships and trains, on rooftops, in a drained swimming pool and on a frozen lake wearing ice skates!

4. It’s a good workout

There’s a lot of skepticism about whether pickleball is a “real” sport, but rest assured, it is! It qualifies as a moderate intensity sport, equivalent to hiking or yoga. According to USA Pickleball, you can burn 250 calories in 30 minutes of recreational play if you weigh 150 pounds; 335 calories if you weigh 200 pounds. If you play more aggressively, then you can burn approximately 360 calories in 30 minutes if you weigh 150 pounds, or 475 calories if you weigh 200 pounds. If you play singles, you’ll get an even better workout. 

5. It’s very social

Because of the small size of the pickleball court (about 1/3 of the size of a tennis court), it's easy to chat both with your partner and your opponents (between points). Additionally, the practice of Open Play, where partners are constantly rotated, makes it easy to meet new people anywhere you play. 

 

Ready to get started playing? Play-PKL has everything you need to know right here. Come play with us!

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