What do you get when you mix a rainy day, bored kids, creative parents, an old badminton court, and a combination of the rules of three racquet games all in one? You get the fastest growing sport in the United States of America called pickleball.
People switch from tennis to pickleball for several reasons. Players feel that pickleball puts fewer demands on the body, the sport is faster and more interesting than tennis, more people have access to pickleball than tennis, and any surface is suitable for playing pickleball.
There is great concern in the tennis community regarding the number of tennis players switching from tennis to pickleball and the number of tennis courts repurposed as pickleball courts.
Why Do Tennis Players Turn To Pickleball?
Pickleball was named the fastest-growing sport in the United States of America in early 2022. In addition, it was named the official state sport of Washington in April 2022, confirming just how popular the sport has become.
Scores of tennis players are turning to pickleball for diverse reasons. Tennis is a challenging sport to play competitively at an older age or if you encounter an injury. As previously mentioned, pickleball puts less strain on the body, so, understandably, older generation tennis players may turn to the much less physical option, same as players who are dealing with injuries.
Tennis players that play more professionally prefer to play pickleball in their downtime between tournaments since it is less stressful and a variation of the game they love.
Beginner or young tennis players may find tennis too time-consuming, and the hours of repetition to perfect their shots and see the amount of work they need to put into the sport to move up the ranks as daunting and frustrating. These players will leave and join pickleball since you need less skill and get more opportunities to play. Many beginner tennis players complain they were not well received at tennis clubs and feel more welcome at pickleball.
Pickleball is a new sport compared to tennis, and herein may lay the challenge. People tend to see tennis as a sport for the old, rich, and elite, with tennis clubs having strict rules and regulations and often exuberant membership fees that put the sport out of reach for potential players.
Compared to tennis, pickleball is more relaxed, friendly, cheaper to get involved in, and easier to master. Pickleball may be gaining popularity but will not replace tennis since tennis players can enjoy pickleball and vice versa.
Why Is Pickleball So Popular?
The game of pickleball is often referred to as a game for seniors since it requires much less skill, movement, and athleticism than tennis, for example, but this view has changed considerably!
When looking at the ever-increasing membership numbers, tournaments, and pickleball courts built, pickleball is a strong contender in the racquet sports division. However, the question remains, why is it such a popular sport?
Following, in no particular order, are ten reasons pickleball is so popular and why so many people are playing the game.
- It is easy to get the hang of pickleball, even if you have never played racquet games before.
- Pickleball can be played indoors or outside on any terrain. Pickleball courts take up little space, and a court can be set up within minutes using a portable net and markers to mark the court.
- Much unused tennis, basketball, and other hard-surfaced courts are converted into pickleball courts, making the game accessible to more players.
- Anyone can master the rules of pickleball within minutes and the handling of the paddle and shots used in another few minutes.
- You can practice pickleball solo, play in singles or doubles matches, and pickleball allows players of different skill levels to play together.
- Players determine the game’s pace, making playing more adjustable to suit all levels and, therefore, more enjoyable.
- Sports equipment is costly. On the other hand, pickleball is an affordable sport to get involved in since the paddles, balls and nets are not sold at inflated prices and are readily available.
- Since a pickleball court is much smaller than, for instance, a tennis court, it requires less physical effort from the players, which makes it ideal for the elderly, people with injuries, and those who want to get more active and fit. In addition, the game demands less impact on the body, but the game requires bending down to reach the ball, which puts strain on the lower back.
- If you are looking for a good workout, try a game or two of pickleball!
- Pickleball is an amicable game allowing people of all ages to join and participate at a comfortable level. It is an incredible way to meet new friends and enjoy some good clean fun.
The Future Of Pickleball And Tennis
The future is bright for pickleball and tennis since the two sports can complement each other in many ways. Pickleball players may try out tennis and vice versa. Even if there is a bit of push-back from tennis players regarding converting tennis courts into pickleball courts, they are not opposed to pickleball as a game.
The respective governing bodies should work together to further pickleball and tennis, learning from one another and supporting each other.
Tennis, being the “antique” sport of the two, must renew its efforts in recruiting players, offering more opportunities at more affordable costs, or run the danger of seeing more tennis players switch to pickleball.
Pickleball is the buzz right now, and if you have not tried the game, we suggest you go out, buy a kit, find the closest pickleball court and play the game. Experience the game yourself, and remember to stay out of the kitchen!
What started as a backyard game in 1965 became incredibly competitive, with prospects of being recognized as an Olympic sport that will feature at either the 2024 Paris or the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic games!