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Why Is Pickleball So Popular?

November 14, 2022 4 min read

Why Is Pickleball So Popular?

Picture this:It is one year ago, Sunday morning and you're running in Hallover Park, when you come across a crowd gathered around 4 courts. You immediately think, "did not know this park had tennis courts.." You take another look, they're not tennis courts, they are too small, balls are weirdly too big-ping-pong-balls, racquet seems like Padel Tennis. You approach a nearby persona and ask, "what sport is this?" She laughs and says, "the hottest sport in America…PICKLEBALL!" You don't take it seriously, and continue to run with that thought on your mind, "What is pickleball?" 


Fast forward to May 2022: Zensah spotlights Ambassador Erik Rosner,  Pro Pickleball player, on a  blog post,  and says the sport is "HOT!". Maybe it's time you go down the rabbit hole and learn about this sport. According to  The Washington Post,  Pickleball (or some people spell it as Pickle ball) is "exploding and getting messy," and the forecast is to continue to take off for the next three years. Read on to learn why is pickleball so popular and get all the insights you need to be a part of this growing community of pickleball-lovers! 

The Backstory of Pickleball

Although the rise of pickleball is recent, this racquet game is not new at all. Back in 1965 two fathers by the name of Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell tried to entertain their families by doing a little improv game on a badminton court, with some ping pong racquets, and wiffle balls. The rules (almost exactly the same as today's pickleball rules) had to be easy and made with an 'every family member can play' in mind. Two years later, the first court was constructed in the backyard of one of the dad's neighbors. 

How Pickleball got Its Name

Although there doesn't seem to be a consensus on exactly why it's called Pickleball, there are some pretty promising theories. Like the sport, these theories attribute the name as a celebration of the unique genesis of the game. Two theories put forth by Long Cove Clubstate that:

"Joel Pritchard’s wife, Joan, started to call their game pickleball because “the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.” But according to Barney McCallum, they named the game after Pritchard’s dog, who was (as you might’ve guessed) named Pickles! Despite the sour taste of actual pickles, their dog was sweet and known to run off with the ball while it was still being played!"

Although we will never know what the real story of the name is, it does lend itself to the fun and laidback attitude that the game embodies.

Why Is It "HOT?" 

We've  researched  some key points on why it's time you should get into this game as well, why it's trending, and why it's growing so rapidly. Now that you know the background story, it is safe to say that the sport is  'family friendly,'  which is one of the biggest reasons it is so hot. It was invented with the idea that all members of a family could play and it was meant for socialization and inclusion. Not only does this attitude reflect positively on physical health, Pickleball presents a great way to socialize and work on your mental health, as well. It's a win/win. Pickleballs immense inclusiveness comes built in. Not only is it meant to be easy to play, it can be played in singles or doubles. Pickleball also isn't meant to be overly difficult to master and is easy to get a handle of after a few games. 

Who Can Play?

You and everyone! As it was born with the purpose of reuniting and having fun with the family, it had to be a sport easy enough for a range of ages; let's say from 60+ years-old to under 18-years-old. The answer is simple, there's pickleball for beginners, there's pickleball for the pros, for women, men, children, teens, and even celebrities all over it!  As it was born with the purpose of reuniting and having fun with the family, it had to be a sport easy enough for a range of ages; let's say from 60+ years-old to under 18-years-old

How to Play Pickleball?

Different from other racquet and ball sports, it is slower paced, and balls aren't flying everywhere (like badminton). The fact you're also serving lowerhand makes it easier, and less pressure is made on the elbows and shoulders. Meaning, there is a less chance of injury, of course, that does not mean you are free from it. Considering the right apparels to stabilize elbows, wrist, and even prevent blisters while on court is always necessary!  Check out this collection. 

What are the Rules of Pickleball?

Curious about what are the basic rules of pickleball? According to USA Pickleball there are extensive rules to playing Pickleball, but we're going to provide a watered down version here: 

1. The ball must be served underhanded, diagonally, and from behind the base line.

2. A team or opponent wins points when their opponent isn't able to return the ball, hits it out of bounds, or into the net.

3. Only the serving team can score.

4. The server serves until a point is achieved.

5. A served ball must bounce once on each size before any player can volley. Players can only volley from inbounds.

5. Games are played to at least 11 and winners must lead by 2 points.

Where Can You Find Pickleball Courts? 

Playing pickleball is beyond accessible for anyone and everyone, as you can play standing, on a wheelchair, it is also super easy to find a pickleball court near you.  The USA Pickleball website is a perfect tool to find locate courts near you. In fact, there's even an app called Places 2 Play, to find "pickleball courts near me," from indoor pickleball to outdoors!  

What's Next? 

According to  SFIA 2022 Sports, Fitness, & Leisure Activities Topline Participation Reports from February 2022,  Pickleball had more than 4.8 million participants nationwide (as if half the population of New York were players). For the second year in a row, it's   the fastest growing sport in America,  and it's not stopping…

As the professional pickleball league was founded back in 2021, and along the outrageous growth, celebrities and athletes are going big on investments. From the  Major League Pickleball to a  Celebrity Pickleball Tournament on Nov. 17th. Some pickleball-lovers celebrities include: Tom Brady, Lebron James, Gary Vee, Will Farrell, Emma Watson...and the list goes on! 

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