What is Pickleball and Why Has it Gotten So Popular?

What is Pickleball and Why Has it Gotten So Popular?

If you were in high school in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s then you have no doubt played a game called pickleball. Pickleball was a great way to introduce those people that weren’t great at tennis to a similar sport, but without the insane dexterity and speed sometimes associated with tennis.

It might come as a surprise to a lot of people, but pickleball has started making an epic resurgence at park districts and country clubs around the country. If you would have asked us 20 years ago which sport from your gym class, do you think that people would be obsessing over in the future, I’m not sure that anyone would have guess pickleball, but here we are, and it’s bigger than ever.

Pickleball is a sport that transcends age and lends itself to both young and old people looking to get a great exercise without having to overexert themselves in ways that other sports can. There are tournaments and open gym opportunities in almost every community in our area and across the country, so if you’re looking to learn, there is no excuse not to get out there.

What is Pickleball?

Those unfamiliar with this new sports fad may be asking themselves, what is pickleball? Maybe you didn’t experience this great game in your high school gym class and maybe this pickleball epidemic has not spread to your local community yet. Whatever your reason for not hearing about this sport yet, let’s give you a quick low-down on what pickleball is.

As we mentioned above, pickleball is a game similar to tennis with some differences. While pickleball seems like tennis it is played on a smaller version of a tennis court and the equipment varies from that of tennis. Instead of tennis rackets and a felt covered tennis ball, pickleball uses wooden paddles and a plastic ball with holes in it (a whiffle ball). The court that pickleball is played on slightly smaller than a tennis court and the net is lower. A traditional pickleball court measures 44-ft by 20-ft whereas a tennis court measures 78-ft by 36-ft.

Aside from the equipment and setup of pickleball when compared to tennis, the other major difference is the scoring. Unlike tennis, pickleball is scored by single points with the team reaching 11 first being the winner (winning team must win by 2 points) and you can only score a point when your team is serving.

In addition to this there are some other rules that you will need to know in regards to volleying, serving, and the sequence of shifts after points are scored.

Once you know the rules, pickleball is a great way to get some exercise while enjoying a slower paced sport that all can enjoy.

Why Has Pickleball Become So Popular?

Lately it seems like everyone knows at least one person that has played in a pickleball tournament or has inquired about taking lessons or going to an open gym, but why? Why has this game that we haven’t thought about since high school gym class suddenly gotten so popular around the country?

There are a few reasons why pickleball has become so popular all of a sudden and most of them come down to ease of play.

To start with, the rules are simple and picking them up is easy. Anyone can learn to play, and it only takes a few sessions to begin to get comfortable with all the rules. In addition to that, the overall athleticism required to play is lower than a lot of other sports.

Since the courts are smaller and the ball is moving a slower pace, even those without the speed and dexterity to play other sports, can keep up in a pickleball game. The court is a lot smaller than a tennis court so the distance you must cover to prevent the ball from bouncing twice is far less. There’s not as much sprinting from one end of the court to the other and no trying to defend balls being hit upwards of 80 mph.

This lends itself to older folks being able to pick up and play, while also getting a great workout. You’ll be surprised at how much exercise you can get just from a simple game of pickleball. This is great for those that want to get their heart pumping a bit more than they would get from taking a walk around the track. It’s also a great way to help boost your hand-eye coordination which can sometimes fall apart as we age and don’t participate in activities that help us practice.

And finally, the game can be played either by yourself or with a doubles partner. This means if you’re not into team sports, you can always go out and play pickleball by yourself, but on the other hand, if you have a friend that you enjoy exercising and playing sports with, this is a great opportunity to work together.

Pickleball has quickly become one of the most popular sports at local rec centers, park districts, and community centers for its ease of play and its ability to resonate with all ages. It doesn’t take the most athletic person to be good at pickleball, nor does it take the youngest person.

Who knows, you may just become addicted to the sport like a lot of others have in recent months. So what’s stopping you? Inquire with your local park district today and get yourself into a league, tournament, or just some lessons to get yourself comfortable! This is a great indoor sport to take advantage of now that the weather is getting colder.


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