Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America, with a growth rate of 11.5% in the past five years [CNBC]. This game, which is a mix of badminton, tennis, and table tennis, is taking the country by storm, attracting entrepreneurs and athlete celebrities like LeBron James, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees [CNBC]. In this article, we will explore the history, rules, and benefits of pickleball, as well as why it is taking over America.
What Is Pickleball?
A. History of Pickleball
Pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, by Joel Pritchard, a congressman, and Bill Bell, a businessman, to provide a fun game for their families. They used an old badminton court, lowered the net, and created paddles out of plywood. They named the game “pickleball” after their dog, Pickles, who loved to chase the ball [National Geographic].
B. How to Play Pickleball
Pickleball is played on a court that is 44 feet long and 20 feet wide for doubles, and 22 feet wide for singles. The net is 36 inches high at the ends and 34 inches in the middle. The game starts with a serve, and the ball must be served underhand and diagonally across the court. The return must also be made on the first bounce, and after that, both teams can play either a volley or a groundstroke [National Geographic].
C. Pickleball Equipment
To play pickleball, you will need a paddle, which is similar to a ping pong paddle but larger. The paddle is usually made of lightweight materials such as graphite or composite materials. You will also need a pickleball, which is a plastic ball with holes. The ball is designed to be lightweight and have less bounce than a tennis ball, making it easier to control on the court. Pickleball shoes are also available, which are designed to provide support and stability during the game [National Geographic].
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Why Is Pickleball Taking Over America?
A. The Popularity of Pickleball
Pickleball has been gaining popularity across America, with over 4.8 million active participants in the U.S alone [CNBC]. Major League Pickleball has set a goal to reach nearly 40 million global players by 2030. This growth can be attributed to several factors, such as the ease of learning, the social aspect of the game, and its inclusivity, as players of all ages and abilities can play together [The Pickleball Rally].
B. The Benefits of Pickleball
Pickleball is not only fun, but it also has several benefits for players. It is a low-impact sport that can help improve cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and hand-eye coordination. Because it is a social sport, it can also help improve mental health and reduce stress levels [Buzzfeed News].
C. Pickleball and Socializing
One of the unique features of pickleball is that it can be played by people of all ages and skill levels. This makes it an ideal sport for socializing and making new friends. Many pickleball players join local clubs or leagues to play regularly and meet new people. Pickleball tournaments also provide an opportunity for players to socialize and compete with others from different regions [National Geographic].
D. Pickleball Tournaments
Pickleball tournaments have become increasingly popular in America, attracting players from all over the country. The Professional Pickleball Association hosts several tournaments throughout the year, with over $3 million in pro player payouts in 2022 alone [Buzzfeed News]. These tournaments provide an opportunity for players to compete and showcase their skills while also providing a social environment for players to meet and interact with others.
E. Pickleball Celebrities
Pickleball has also attracted the attention of celebrity athletes, such as LeBron James, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees, who have all expressed their love for the game. Ben Johns, one of the top pickleball players in the U.S., has been ranked No. 1 in the world for doubles, mixed doubles, and singles by the Professional Pickleball Association [Buzzfeed News]. These celebrities and top players have helped to raise the profile of pickleball and introduce it to a wider audience.
In conclusion, pickleball is a fast-growing sport in America that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Its popularity can be attributed to several factors, such as its ease of learning, inclusivity, and social aspect. Pickleball is not only fun but also has several health benefits, making it an ideal sport for players of all ages and skill levels.
Pickleball has also become a social phenomenon, providing an opportunity for players to meet new people and make friends. With the support of celebrity athletes and the increasing number of tournaments, pickleball is well on its way to becoming a household name in America.
If you’re interested in trying out pickleball, many local clubs and leagues offer lessons and open play sessions. With its growing popularity and inclusive nature, it’s a great sport to get involved in and start enjoying the benefits of being active and social.