What is Pickleball and Why Is It so Popular?

A group of players playing the sport of pickleball|

You would be forgiven for asking what is pickleball, although it’s only a matter of time before that question becomes redundant. Pickleball was created in the mid-1960’s but recently it has become one of the fastest growing sports in the United States — so popular that many cities in Utah have started to build dedicated courts in city parks.

As weird as it sounds, the game has nothing to do with pickles.

Pickleball is the lovechild of tennis, ping pong, and badminton. It’s played with two or four players on a badminton-sized court with a tennis style net.

Instead of using a racquet and a tennis ball, paddles made of wood or composite materials are used along with a whiffle ball.

Read on to learn more.

Unique Rules

What makes pickleball stand out from the sports it is similar to are the unique rules it follows. The biggest rule is related to keeping score: a team can only get a point on their serve and teammates must switch spots after every point.

You win the game by scoring 11 points and being at least two clear. Unlike tennis, the serve must be underarm.

What really makes pickleball stand out is the use of a whiffle ball that spins unlike the other sports mentioned.

All Ages Can Play

Pickleball popularity can be accredited to the accessibility of the sport.

The smaller court reduces the amount of movement required which is why so many older people like to play it. On the other end of the spectrum, many teens and young adults find it so fun due to the intensity on a small court, allowing you to test your hand-eye coordination similar to ping pong.

Fair warning, those 75-year-olds you’re thinking of going easy on; they’re probably thinking the same thing. The reduction of physicality makes it a game that can be played between all ages.

Easy to Pick Up

Tennis is a difficult game to learn and it’s not always easy to find the time required to improve. Even when you have a few years experience you’re likely to have an endless list of frustrations relating to your performance, be it your topspin forehand, your kick serve or your backhand volleys.

Pickleball is a lot easier due to the paddles and the smaller court. Pickleball can be picked up in an hour and then improved upon endlessly.

It is Affordable

The affordability of pickleball is another important reason for its rise in popularity. A basic set of paddles and ball typically costs between 20-35 dollars and many parks have courts you can play on for free. If you can’t find a free court, an increasing number of recreation centers and gyms are putting them in place.

It’s even possible to enter some tournaments for free if you want to add to really push yourself.

What is Pickleball? Now You Know

There you have it. Pickleball is the best combination of all the racquet sports you’re too old or impatient to learn, not to mention a fantastic sport in its own right. What are you waiting for? Go pickle your whiffle ball!

What is pickleball? Probably the newest game for you and your friends to get lost in.

Playing pickleball will likely improve the rest of your tennis, badminton or table tennis game, but if you’re serious about upping your tennis game it’s about time you booked some lessons.

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