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Top 5 Reasons Why Pickleball Is The Fastest Growing Sport In America


The number of pickleball players in the United States has increased by over 300 percent in the past decade, making it the fastest growing sport in America. According to the Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP), as of March 2023, 48.3 million American adults played pickleball at least once in the past 12 months. This represents nearly 19 percent of the total adult population!

This means that there are more places to play pickleball than ever before, and it’s becoming easier to find pickleball partners. This growth is being driven by a number of factors. In this blog post, we uncover the top 5 reasons why pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America.

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a relatively new sport, having been invented in 1965. It is a cross between tennis, badminton, and table tennis. The game is played on a badminton-sized court (44 feet by 20 feet) with a slightly modified tennis net. The paddles look like table tennis paddles—smaller than tennis rackets and made of wood or composite materials. The ball is hollow and made of plastic with holes all around it, similar to a wiffle ball.

Unlike other racket sports that use rally scoring, pickleball uses the side-out scoring system. In this scoring system, only the serving team can score points. If the serving team loses the point, the service then shifts to the other team, who can then score their own points.

This continues until one team reaches 11 points (sometimes 15 or 21, depending on the situation and event organizers), with a two-point lead. So, if the score is tied at 10-10, the game continues until one team has a two-point lead.

How Much Has Pickleball Grown in the Last 5 Years?

As mentioned earlier, pickleball has seen a growth rate of over 300 percent in the past decade. But a lot of that growth happened in just the last 5 years. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), there were 4.8 million pickleball players in the United States in 2019. This number has increased to 48.3 million in 2023—that’s more than 900 percent!

Here’s a table that shows you the number of pickleball players in the United States from 2019 to 2023.

Number of Pickleball Players
2019 4.8 million
2020 6.7 million
2021 8.9 million
2022 12.8 million
2023 48.3 million

You can really see the sport’s growth, especially between 2022 and 2023. And the APP estimates that the number of pickleball players in the United States will reach 70 million by 2028—another 5 years from now. So, what happened to make pickleball so popular?

Top 5 Reasons Why Pickleball Is the Fastest Growing Sport in America

Now that you have an idea of what pickleball is and how it is played, it’s time to delve into the top reasons why we think pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America.

1. It’s easy to learn and play.

Pickleball is a cross between tennis, badminton, and table tennis. Most people already know how to play these extremely popular sports. Combine them all into one and you get pickleball!

The rules are simple, and the equipment is relatively inexpensive. Of course, some rules—like those involving the non-volley zone or kitchen—need some getting used to. But other than that, you can easily play pickleball for hours on end.

You can see why it can be easy for people of all ages and skill levels to pick up. In fact, according to the 2022 Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) Report on Pickleball, 60 percent of core pickleball participants are 55 years old or older. This means that there are approximately 29.08 million senior pickleball players in the United States.

2. It’s a low-impact sport.

Pickleball is a great option for people who are looking for a fun and active workout without putting too much stress on their joints. Did we mention pickleball is popular among the elderly? Well, this is another big reason why.

The reason pickleball is a low-impact sport is because the court is smaller than a tennis court, so players don’t have to run long distances to get from one end of the court to another. And the ball is made of plastic with holes all over, making it lighter, less bouncy, and less likely to cause serious injury.

3. Pickleball is good for your overall health.

Let’s face it—working out is a chore, at least for most of us couch potatoes. The best way to get us moving is by letting us do something enjoyable. Well, this is exactly why sports like pickleball are so good for your health. You get to improve your strength and flexibility, and burn calories while doing so. Triple win!

Pickleball is also a great way to improve your hand-eye coordination since the small, lightweight ball requires players to be quick and accurate with their shots.

And my personal favorite benefit—it’s a great way to relieve stress! The fast-paced action, the adrenalin and endorphin rush, the time spent with your friends all help to take your mind off of your troubles.

4. Companies have cashed in on the pickleball craze.

Pickleball couldn’t have grown to become the fastest growing sport in America without the support of countless companies that have begun producing pickleball items and equipment. The increase in players came with a higher demand for more equipment varieties, innovation (like holes on the pickleball paddle), affordable but quality options, and more.

For example, for nearly 70 years, the company Joola has only produced table tennis equipment. However, they tried to make pickleball equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic and fell in love with the sport. So now, they regularly produce pickleball equipment as well!

Fitness centers have also built their own courts, started giving out classes, and even sometimes host friendly tournaments against different sporting clubs.

There are specialty country clubs or communities that offer food and drinks for friends, children and families who like to play pickleball. One such example is Chicken N Pickle, a restaurant and sports bar that houses pickleball courts and yard games, which currently has eight locations across the nation.

5. Pickleball is a social sport.

Pickleball has a large community of players who use social media to arrange matches, resulting in the formation of a vast network of pickleball groups on social media sites.

As of this writing, there are thousands of participants in a Facebook group for pickleball gamers in Chicago, while more than 2,000 people are a part of another group in northern Seattle. I’d wager you can easily find a fellow pickleball enthusiast in your gym if you ask around!

Social media sites and communities aren’t the only social aspect of the sport either. Pickleball can be played in doubles, making it a great way to hang out or catch up with a friend.

The point is pickleball has become a great way to meet new people and make friends. It remains a popular activity for families and friends to enjoy, which is what the makers of pickleball intended when they created the game in the first place.

Pickleball is Still Growing

Pickleball isn’t just a fad that people took up because they were bored during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. It’s proven itself to be a growing force in the world of racket sports, with a professional scene that keeps expanding every year.

Pickleball really is the fastest growing sport in the USA, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. So, what are you waiting for? Give pickleball a shot today!