Pickle was the name of a dog owned by a family in Washington state in 1965. While on vacation, the family invented a new game. Their dog joined in by bringing the ball back every time they hit it too far with their paddles. If the tale seems true, the puppy must have given the name to America’s fastest-growing sport. Pickleball stands as an odd combination of tennis, ping pong and badminton. But, you play it with a paddle and a ball that has holes punched through it.
Top 5 reasons why pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America
On a pickleball court that is 20 feet by 44 feet, or about one-third of a tennis court, players strike the ball back and forth. The matches continue until one side scores 11. They often run 15 to 25 minutes and have a steady rhythm that can quicken with exchanged volleys, much like tennis.
However, a great pickleball player will use subtle motions to manage the lighter, perforated plastic ball. This stands in contrast to a tennis player who may try to smack the ball as hard as possible. With this simple fundamental, Pickleball helped gain momentum and become the fastest growing sport in America than other sports.
#1 Growth in Professionalization
In 2021, pickleball’s two-year growth rate was 39%, according to the most current report of USA Pickleball Association. The organization is responsible for rules and rulebooks of the game. There are 200 to 300 courts only in the metro area. The Missouri Pickleball Club in Fenton’s Gravois Bluffs neighborhood has the most impressive facilities. It has nearly 20 modern pickleball courts frequently jam-packed with wall-to-wall games.
Cities are developing additional courts to meet the rising demand, while tennis courts are being replaced by private clubs. With the recently-launched Major League Pickleball joining the PPA and APP tours, professionalization has increased. According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, there are 4.8 million players worldwide now, about twice as many as there were five years ago. Some pickleball enthusiasts are taking advantage of this surge in popularity.
#2 Playing Pickleball is addictive
The majority of the core players of the game — those who play more than eight times annually— are over 65, but the sport is attracting younger and more players, with new players under 55 showing the most growth, according to USA Pickleball. Since 2020, 500,000 people have picked up a pickleball paddle. And while some people started playing as a risk-free pandemic exercise, the sport did not stop gaining popularity for years and has had a twofold increase in participation since 2014.
#3 Pickleball is for all skill levels
Pickleball is quickly gaining popularity as a spectator sport. The Professional Pickleball Association Tour, which debuted in 2018, was recently acquired by the owner of the National Hockey League team known as the Carolina Hurricanes. A second pro tour was formed by the Association of Pickleball Professionals and was sanctioned by USA Pickleball a year later.
Professional athletes are increasingly able to shine in the public eye and establish themselves as well-known figures.
#4 Companies can cash in on the craze
The pickleball paddle may have originated as a table tennis paddle, but manufacturers are hoping to capitalize on the pickleball trend by producing paddles specifically for the game. For nearly 70 years, the company Joola has produced table tennis equipment; nonetheless, this is the first time the company has entered a new sport.
They never thought they would go beyond manufacturing products such as the table tennis ball, net and other items. However, when they gave it a try during Covid, they fell in love with the sport.
#5 The Social Aspect
Pickleball players used social media to arrange matches to play Pickleball as the sport gained popularity, resulting in the formation of a vast network of pickup groups on social media sites. 3,100 people are part of a Facebook group for gamers in Chicago, while more than 2,000 people are a part of one in northern Seattle.
Fitness centers have started building courts, give classes, and even host friendly tournaments against different sporting clubs. Additionally, there are specialty country clubs or a community that offer food, and drinks for friends, children and families to play pickle ball and interact at, such as Chicken N Pickle, which has six locations across the nation, including one in Kansas City.
There are instances of sports that briefly experience unprecedented fame before disappearing completely. The Pickleball game does not seem to come under those types of sports.
A husband and wife can have fun together. Granddaughter can play with her grandfather. You can go inside and play the game if it’s freezing outside. You can play the game outside when it’s warm. Moreover, all of the playing equipment — racquets, balls, and court time — is inexpensive.
As we call it as pickleball, you can simply write off pickleball as a frivolous fad. At a time when such solidarity feels increasingly rare, the fact that so many individuals from many backgrounds are coming together suggests that there may be some lessons to be learned from the sport’s rapid awareness. Indeed, there will be several benefits to enjoy when played with friends and family on the court along with playing tennis, ping pong and badminton.