Pickleball Continues Growth in Popularity

Pickleball, a sport historically favored by retired North Americans, seems to be having a moment.

Pickleball has become one of the fastest-growing sports in America, with more than 3 million people playing per year -- an increase of 700% over the past decade, as reported by the USAPA (USA Pickleball Association). The sport was invented in 1965 by three fathers trying to entertain their bored children, but has evolved into a game that is played throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

As a paddle ball sport, Pickleball combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis, and comes with its own set of quirky, but simple, rules.

According to Justin Maloof, executive director of USAPA, the biggest increase of new interest has not been with the elderly – but with younger folks players who continue to participate in national tournaments, while others move into tennis in later years.

“When the sport first caught on in the sunbelt states around 2009, it was at 55-plus centers and RV communities,” he said. “It snowballed from there. But these days, there are many municipalities and parks and rec departments that are setting up courts, making it accessible to a younger crowd.”

Since games are usually quick – with a typical league running only fifteen minutes each – participants are able to adjust into the play as they see fit.

Families are able to make an afternoon of it, including everyone from the oldest to the youngest. What all players have in common is the need to prevent injuries, heat stress, and dehydration.

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