Sports fans are wondering if pickleball will ever be an Olympic sport. The answer is complicated. Pickleball has been gaining popularity recently, but it still has a long way to go before it can be considered for the Olympics.
What Is Pickleball?
Pickleball is a paddle sport created for all ages and skill levels. The game is played on a badminton-size court with a tennis-like net, and the rules are similar to tennis, except players use paddles instead of racquets and a perforated plastic ball instead of a tennis ball.
You can play pickleball as singles or doubles.
What Makes an Olympic Sport?
So how can a sport qualify for the Olympics? Several factors must be considered when determining if a sport is eligible for the Olympics. must be widely practiced worldwide and governed by a recognized international federation. The sport must also be included in at least one major international sporting event program.
The International Olympic Committee has indicated that it is open to considering new sports for the Olympics, but pickleball will need to gain more popularity and support before it can be seriously considered. Additionally, the Olympic committee requires individuals to watch its games, therefore every sport that is represented must be sufficiently popular to justify a spot on this global stage. The next stage is to make sure that the contest adheres to the Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code if the IOC finds that your sport satisfies those requirements.
In the meantime, fans of the sport can continue to enjoy it and hope that one day it will be an Olympic sport.
How frequently are new Olympic sports introduced?
The most well-known Olympic sports often get the most significant attention on primetime television. This is why, at least initially, fresh sports only sometimes get much interest. Which sports will be part of the competition are eventually decided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose to add five new sports at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. These include karate, baseball/softball, skateboarding, sport climbing (indoor rock climbing), and surfing. As you can see, there is a broad spectrum of sports, from the very well-liked to the more specialized.
Let’s look at a few more details about Pickleball.
What Is Pickleball?
Pickleball is a quick-moving paddle game featuring table tennis, badminton, and tennis features. The game is played on a doubles court with a net which is 1.5 to 2.5 meters high in the middle.
Per the USA Pickleball, Bill Bell, Joel Pritchard, and Barney McCallum, “three dads whose kids were bored with their usual summertime activities,” invented the sport in 1965 up in the Pacific Northwest, located just outside of Seattle.
Tennis-like serve and volleying exchanges are a big part of the game. It changes when the two-bounce rule and the non-volley zone are implemented.
Why Isn’t Pickleball an Olympic Sport?
Pickleball is a relatively new sport. It was created in the mid-20th century and only began to gain popularity in the past few decades. As such, it hasn’t had enough time to establish itself as an international sport like basketball or soccer to warrant Olympic inclusion and played as Olympic games.
Second, pickleball is primarily played in North America. While there are some tournaments and leagues in other parts of the world, most pickleball players are from the United States and Canada, which is another reason pickleball hasn’t achieved international popularity.
While the sport is gaining popularity, it is still mostly confined to North America. Pickleball also has several different governing bodies, which complicates matters further. Hence there are still questions about the possibility of pickleball debut in the Olympics.
Will Pickleball Become An Olympic Game?
Pickleball is presently not an official Olympic sport, as is well known. However, pickleball games will become more and more well-liked over time. Though a status change for the 2024 Paris Olympics is unlikely, it may happen for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. Participating in this sport in the Olympics wouldn’t be the strangest thing either. That may be classified as either Race Walking, Tug-of-War, or Equestrian Dressage.
What Should You Know If You’re Interested in Playing Competitive Pickleball?
Whether you’re a seasoned athlete looking for a new challenge or a beginner eager to try something new, competitive pickleball can be a great option. But before diving in, you should know a few things.
First and foremost, competitive pickleball is not for everyone. If you’re not prepared to commit the time and energy to training and competing, it’s probably not the right activity for you.
Here are some of the potential drawbacks of playing pickleball:
- Limited Court Size – One of the most significant disadvantages of pickleball is that you can only play it on a court that is 20 feet wide and 44 feet long. So, you need a specific pickleball court to play the game, which can be challenging in some areas.
- Limited Number of Players – Another disadvantage of pickleball is that you can only play it with a maximum of four players. Finding people to play with can be challenging if you don’t have a regular group of friends who also play the game.
- Requires Specialized Equipment – To play pickleball, you need a few specialized pieces of equipment, including a net, paddles and balls. This can be costly if you need to purchase all of the equipment yourself.
- Takes Time to Learn – Unlike some sports that you can learn quickly, pickleball takes a bit more time to learn and master. This can be frustrating for some people who want to be able to play immediately without having to put in the extra effort.
- Can Be Competitive – While pickleball is generally considered a relatively casual sport, it can still be quite competitive. This can be off-putting for some people looking for a more relaxed game.
How to overcome the potential drawbacks of playing pickleball?
You can overcome many of these disadvantages with a little bit of effort. For example, you can likely find other people to play with if you look hard enough and the equipment is not too expensive.
If you are willing to put in time to learn how to play, pickleball is a fun and rewarding experience.
Pickleball is not a difficult sport to learn. It can be pretty easy to pick up the basics of the game. However, like any sport, becoming a master of pickleball takes time, practice, and dedication. But if you’re willing to do the work, you can become an excellent pickleball player.
Competitive pickleball, especially, requires a significant financial investment. You’ll need to purchase equipment and travel to tournaments, which can be costly. It’s also important to understand that competitive pickleball can be physically demanding. It’s essential to be in good physical shape and have the stamina to play long matches.
Still Interested in Playing Competitive Pickleball?
If you’re still interested in playing competitive pickleball, the first step is finding a league or pickleball tournament to participate in. There are many levels of competition, so you can find an opportunity that’s right for you.
Once you’ve found a league or tournament, the next step is to start practicing. You’ll need to spend time honing your skills and perfecting your strategy. If you’re serious about playing competitive pickleball, there’s no substitute for hard work and dedication. Putting in the effort can be a hugely rewarding experience.
Pickleball can become an Olympic sport while not being one at the moment. Given its rising popularity and international appeal, it would be a fantastic addition to the Olympic sports program.