Pickleball is an easy game to learn that scales quickly to a fast-paced, very intense, extremely competitive sport. Very little skill is needed, you don’t need to invest in much equipment, and it’s fun for all ages. Even though It’s accessible and enjoyable, most people don’t know about it. However, that’s about to change.
Pickleball is going to be the paddle sport of the next decade for several reasons. But first, in order to understand where pickleball is going, let’s talk about where it has come from.
When Was Pickleball Invented?
Unlike many sports, we actually have a date for when the sport of Pickleball was invented. In 1965, in Washington State, three fathers who wanted to dream up an easy and engaging game for their kids invented the sport. Those first few games were played in backyards with handmade equipment — but, as it shortly became more popular, standardised equipment and rules were formed, especially as the game began to spread across the United States and Canada.
Why Is It Called “Pickleball”?
As there are zero pickles involved in this game, its chosen moniker might seem a little odd. There are a few different versions of the story behind its name. Some think that it was named after the pickle boat, a small craft which held the leftovers of other boats, and others believe that it was named after one of the founder’s pets, a dog named Pickle. Either way, it’s a distinctive name that was cemented as the game became more popular.
Who Plays Pickleball Now?
According to some authorities, there are over fifteen thousand pickleball courts in America. Each state in the USA has at least one court. As pickleball can be enjoyed by people of all ages, it’s quickly gaining popularity. There’s even a competitive league that organizes local, regional and national tournaments, as well as several manufacturers making great equipment at differing price points.
SFIA, the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, did a recent study and found that there are over 2.5 million people in the United States alone who play pickleball. For a sport that was only founded in 1965, that’s a fantastic amount of growth! And, due to the ease and popularity of the sport, that growth is only expected to continue.
Who Will Play Pickleball in the Future?
Pickleball is now a standard sport often introduced in physical education classes in schools around the globe. Therefore, an entire new generation is currently growing who will already know about pickleball, want to create new courts for it, and want to play it with their kids.
As it can be anything from a very intense, extremely fast-paced game to a more low-key experience, many retirement homes are investing in courts, for seniors who are interested in a way to stay active but may more enjoy the social aspects of the game.
Competitive tennis, ping-pong, and badminton players also love pickleball for honing their skills, as pickleball does require slightly different serves and movements than their other games.
Why is Pickleball Popular?
Part of pickleball’s explosive popularity does come from its accessibility. The low skill level required for entry and the few materials needed make it easy for anyone to decide to play. However, the sport of pickleball will be growing rapidly, for more reasons than that!
Playing pickleball is an easy and fun way to stay healthy, as the game requires constant motion, but in short, easy-to-complete doses. Parks and recreation departments all across America are picking it up, because of accessibility, but also because it’s an attractive way to convince people to come to their facilities.
However, perhaps the primary reason why pickleball has been referred to by the USA Pickleball Association as ‘highly contagious’, is the extremely social nature of the sport. Not only is it fun to watch, because it is so partner-based (and lightly active), it’s easy to carry on a conversation. You and your partner, as well as even your opponents and your audience, can speak freely while playing a great game — definitely a win-win kind of situation.
Even though pickleball might not currently be the best known sport, everyone should take notice — it’s going to be big in the future. Because it’s so easy to learn, everyone is — from schoolchildren in their physical education courses to seniors living in retirement communities. All you need is a partner and a paddle, a ball and a court, and you’re in for hours of fun.
The sport of pickleball is affordable and entertaining, and because of this, it’s set to be one of the most rapidly-growing entertainments in America over the next decade. You may want to start practicing now, learning from places like PickleballGuide, so that when it becomes popular, you already know exactly how to win.