Pickleball Statistics for America’s Fastest-Growing Sport

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Are you looking for a reason to start playing pickleball? Well, there are many reasons to love this popular sport. This game is considered America’s fastest-growing sport because it experienced tremendous growth and popularity over the past 50 years. It is a fantastic combination of badminton, ping pong and other similar racket sports.

Many also believe that this sport is going to expand even more during the upcoming decade. Indeed, this growing sport in America is rapidly increasing its community of pickleball players including the growth of new players. Owing to the popularity of the game, the USA pickleball Association is also coming up with new pickleball courts rapidly. Additionally, they are also transforming many tennis courts and other similar courts used for other sports into courts with pickleball lines. Certainly, they are building courts at a fast pace to match the increasing craze of this fastest growing sport.

The fast growth rate of pickle ball in the country is enough reason to get into this sport. But let’s take a look at the statistics to convince you this is the right racket sport to start.

Pickleball Statistics

There are many different types of statistics that need to be considered when you want to learn more about this rapidly growing sport. Statistics like the number of injuries or likelihood of injuries, growth rate, and others need to be taken into consideration if you want to get a glimpse of the fastest growing sport of the country.

According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, there are currently 4.8 million players of pickleball. People are also capitalizing on the sport’s popularity. The idea that this activity is able to draw diversity is incredible. In fact, racket sports involve many different communities.

Here are key pickleball statistics by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.

Growth Statistics

The growth of this game has been tremendous and mostly because this is a game for any age group and any athletic capabilities.

The story of pickleball started in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington State. The locals Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum, founded the game and the neighbors first enjoyed it.

The game gradually grew in popularity and Pritchard and McCallum developed a corporation, Pickleball, Inc, in 1968. The name “pickleball” was trademarked around the same time Pickleball, Inc released its first annual report in 1972.

The first pickleball tournament was held in 1976 and by 1990, this game was played in all 50 states of the country.

By 2021, there were over 4.8 million U.S. pickleball players in these sports clubs. The sport showed a 14.8% rate of growth between 2020 and 2021 after having a faster rate of 21.3% from 2019 to 2020. The average growth rate for this game is 11.8% over the past five years.

Player Statistics for Pickleball

There is no restriction in enjoying these sports when it comes to how old the player is. Children, teenagers, adults, senior citizens – all of them can play. All it requires is to have a pool of friends who love to indulge in fast-paced racket sports. In total, there are over 4.8 million pickleball players. Out of these 4.8 million players, it’s estimated that about 3.5 million were casual players with no interest in tournament playing.

1.4 Million of the 4.8 million players were core players who enjoyed playing over 8 times per year.

60% of all players are male, and 40% of all players are female. The game does, however, show a faster growth rate for female players over the past few years.

The average years of all players in 2021 was 38.1 years while the average age for core players was 47.9 and 34.3 for casual players. Most players who started playing pickleball in 2021 were under 24 years.

Here’s a quick summary of the number of players for different categories:

  • 6 to 17 years – 21.2% of all players, with 14.2% core players and 23.9% casual players
  • 18 to 34 years – 28.8% of all players, with 16.8% core players and 33.5% casual players
  • 35 to 54 years – 20.4% of all players, with 17% core players and 21% casual players
  • 55 to 64 years – 12% of all players, with 19.2% core players and 9.2% casual players
  • Over 65 years – 17.6%, with 32.7% core players and 11.6% casual players

Location Statistics for Pickleball

By 1990, all 50 states of America played pickleball. At the end of 2021, over 9,524 places played pickleball, and an average of 66 additional courts started building every month.

The first National Pickleball Tournaments took place in Buckeye in Arizona in 2009 with over 400 participants.

In 2021, the Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships took place in the Indian Wells Tennis Garden outside of Palm Springs and featured over 2,342 registered players who competed for $90,000 in prize money.

Racket Sportspersons Entering Pickleball Statistics

You don’t have to be a professional player to start playing pickleball and yet, most pickleball players are also tennis sportspersons. Indeed, these sportspersons have the advantage of being very good at this game the moment they pick up the racket. In fact, 18 out of the top 20 men and women double pickleball players have experience in other racket games. That is 90% of performing players.

Prize Money Statistics for Pickleball

Pickleball started out as a friendly neighborhood game meant for a group of friends and family. Soon, it quickly grew into a competitive sport.

The Pro Pickleball Association (PPA) and the Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) gave out a total of $2 million for tours in 2021. It is believed that the APP and PPA will give out a total of $5 million in 2022 to professional players.

A lot of these funds are sourced with the help of the fund manager and co-founder of the Major League Pickleball in 2021 who managed to pay out over $1 million this year and $100,000 to the winning team for each of its tour stops.

This is a total of $25,000 per person on the winning team, and is currently the highest winning individual payout ever in this game.

Injury Statistics for Seniors in Pickleball

Pickleball is a safe sport for anyone who is below 50 years. Seniors over 60 years old should, however, be a little bit more careful on the pickleball court, badminton court or even a basketball court.

The Neiss contained a total of 28,984 injuries for senior players in 2018. This figure of 95% is similar to the percentage of senior injuries for tennis players. Most of the injuries obtained while playing this game include injuries like slips, trips, falls, and muscle strains.

Out of these injuries, 33.2% of seniors obtained sprains or strains, 28.1% obtained fractures, and 10.6% obtained contusions. It also illustrated that senior males seem 3.5 times more susceptible to injuries compared to female senior players.

With these statistics, it becomes clear that even though it is safe for seniors, it does pose a risk for people over 60 years old, and that is why only 12% of all players are in this category.

Final Thoughts

With these statistics, it becomes quite clear that this sport will surely grow more in the future. This can be a very fun hobby for anyone from casual players to competitive champions and certainly is worth considering if you’re looking for something fun to do or wish to draw inspiration to begin to be involved in this athletic activity.

Apart from known as an enjoyable sport, pickleball helped many people to attain physical fitness in life. Certainly, there are many heard benefits of this game like the social benefits as well as the health benefits. No matter what athletic skill or ability you possess, anyone and everyone can play this game. Also, if you have played badminton or other racket sports with any ball including ping pong or plastic ones before, you can easily switch to play pickleball sport and become a master. You need to have a pickleball court, net, paddle, ping pong or plastic ball, another player (friend, family member or colleague), knowledge of the game rules – and you can play the game at least once a week.

Check out some of the other guides we have on The Volley if you want to learn more about this sport or if you are looking for quality gear so you can start playing this fastest growing sport in America.

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