Pickleball is a sport that has gained tremendous popularity in recent years. This unique sport combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong and is played on a court that is about a third of the size of a standard tennis court. Pickleball is a great way to stay active, have fun, and socialize with friends and family.
Let’s peek into its history
Pickleball was created in 1965 by Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum on Bainbridge Island, just outside of Seattle, Washington. The three men were trying to come up with a game that would be entertaining for their families during the summer months. They started with badminton, but when they couldn't find a shuttlecock, they used a perforated plastic ball instead. They also lowered the net and used paddles that were similar to ping-pong paddles. The game quickly caught on, and soon neighbors and friends were playing on makeshift courts in their backyards.
The name "pickleball" is said to have come from the Pritchard family's dog, Pickles, who would chase the ball and run off with it. According to some accounts, the game was originally called "pickle's ball," but was eventually shortened to pickleball
Benefits of Pickleball
Pickleball is a great way to stay active and fit. It is a low-impact sport that is easy on the joints, making it a great option for people of all ages and fitness levels. The game requires quick movements and sharp reflexes, which can help improve agility and coordination. It also provides a good cardiovascular workout, as players are constantly moving around the court.
In addition to the physical benefits, pickleball also has mental health benefits. It is a social sport that can help reduce stress and improve mood. Playing with friends or joining a local league can provide a sense of community and camaraderie.
Popularity of Pickleball
Pickleball has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, especially among older adults. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, pickleball participation increased by 21.3% in 2020, making it one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States.
One reason for the sport's popularity is its accessibility. Pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors, and requires relatively little equipment. The court is smaller than a tennis court, which makes it easier to find space to play. Paddles and balls are also relatively inexpensive, making it a great option for those on a budget.
Another reason for the sport's popularity is its inclusivity. Pickleball can be played by people of all ages and abilities, and it is often played in mixed doubles format. This means that men and women can play together, and players of different skill levels can compete against each other.
The Real Boom
It gained popularity in retirement communities because of its social aspect and exercise benefits. The ball travels slower than in tennis, and the court is half the size, making it a more manageable game. It's also suitable for a wide range of ages, and the rules are straightforward.
The game gained popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic as people sought safe, socially isolated ways to exercise outside. Celebrity supporters such as Tom Brady and increased media attention have also contributed to the sport's rise, and gyms and parks have built new courts to meet demand.
The game can be played in singles or doubles, indoors or outdoors, on a 20-foot-by-44-foot court — roughly the size of a badminton court — and lasts until one side reaches 11 points. Many people play on modified tennis courts with lower nets and additional lines.
As the sport has grown in popularity, so has the number of places to play.
By the end of 2022, there were 11,000 places to play Pickleball, a 12% increase.
Fitness Importance of Pickleball
Pickleball is a sport that can improve cardiovascular health, muscular endurance, and overall fitness. The game requires constant movement, which can help improve aerobic capacity and burn calories. A 150-pound person can burn around 250 calories in just 30 minutes of playing pickleball.
This sport also requires a lot of quick movements and changes of direction, which can help improve agility and balance. This can be especially beneficial for older adults, as falls are a common cause of injury in this population.
In addition, pickleball can help improve muscular endurance. The sport requires players to use their upper body, lower body, and core muscles, which can help strengthen and tone muscles over time. The paddles used in pickleball are typically made of lightweight materials, which can help reduce the risk of shoulder and elbow injuries that can be common in other racquet sports.