Why is Pickleball so popular right now? This fastest-growing sport has taken America by storm, with the number of people playing it growing by a whopping 159% between 2019-2022. In 2023, its popularity still surges, prompting communities to offer Pickleball courts as staple amenities across the country.

Nowadays, it’s more common than ever to see pickleball courts listed as top amenities in residential communities, gyms, and recreation centers. Why has it exploded in popularity? Well, there are a variety of reasons.

This social sport isn’t intense, is easy to pick up like table tennis for new players, and uses wide racquets that make it easier to hit the ball back and forth. Overall, it’s a win-win for inclusivity and fun!

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is America’s fastest-growing sport and the official sport of Washington State. It can best be described as a cross between tennis and ping pong. It is accessible to beginners and people of all ages and fitness levels. Pickleball is fun for couples and friend groups, as this indoor/outdoor racket sport can be played in singles or doubles games. In the game, players use rackets or paddles to hit a hollow or perforated plastic ball over a net that is 34 inches high.

During a pickleball match, players hit a ball (that is much like a wiffle ball) back and forth until the opposing side fails to hit the ball in return or breaks a rule. Though Pickleball is currently not an Olympic sport, it is a professional sport regulated by the Professional Pickleball Association. More people are tuning in to watch pickleball tournaments and enjoy the exciting game at play. Today, it is beloved by many people and is only continuing to grow in popularity.

Pickleball became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic when people sought ways to enjoy the outdoors while being safely distant from other people. Since many gyms were closed and it was safer to socialize outdoors, Pickleball became an accessible way to make new friends while enjoying a new sport to pass the time. Since it’s a simple paddle sport that is low-impact and doesn’t involve a lot of extreme moves, almost anyone can join a pickleball club and participate, even first-time players.

Pickleball as a must-have amenity!

Just like gyms and pools have become standard in higher end communities, pickleball is also on the radar of new home builders as they create new build-for-rent communities and other residential areas. Builders and developers are noticing what people want and are delivering.

key pickleball stats for 2023: 36.5 million people, age 18-34 make largest age bracket of players, 152.8 million paddle market, 158.6% growth in over 3 years, 10320 places to play pickleball in us and 7.7% forecastic annual growth rate to 2028
Infographic credit to Pickleheads.com

How did Pickleball get its name?

Pickleball got its name in 1965 after a “pickle boat,” which is a rowing term for the hodgepodge crew of rowers slapped together. These were often leftover rowers that nobody else wanted on their team, so the term “pickle boat” often referred to the boat coming in last in a crew race.

Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum are the founders who were residents of Bainbridge Island, Washington. It was originally a children’s backyard game meant to be easy and a fun way to pass the time. In a way, this is a true underdog story where the sport meant for the unwanted players has become one of the most loved sports in modern history.

How do you play Pickleball?

Pickleball is a great sport for all skill levels and has official rules from the USA Pickleball Association. Instead of writing out all the rules, watch this helpful YouTube video about the basics. Overall, your goal is to get as many points as possible by making the other players miss hitting the ball back into your court.

Why did Pickleball get big so quickly?

Pickleball got big so quickly at first due to pandemic trends. As more Americans wanted to get outside to exercise, they needed a sport that was accessible to diverse skill sets and fitness levels. Therefore, Pickleball, which is easier than tennis and friendlier on the body, was a great choice. Though restrictions have lifted, the general public is now familiar with the charm of a good Pickleball game, resulting more people than ever are flocking to the sport. Notably, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association has confirmed that it remains the fastest-growing sport in America as of 2023.

What’s the average age of Pickleball players?

The average age of Pickleball players is 38.1 years, according to the most recent data. Since it has historically been a sport for the elderly, players ages 55+ make up the largest group at 19.8%. But surprisingly, players between the ages of 18-34 make up the second largest group, comprising 18.5% of all players. On top of this, the under-24 age group was the fastest-growing group of Pickleball players in 2021, with a staggering growth rate of 21%.

How much Pickleball is too much?

According to the experts, you should always listen to your body while engaging in any physical activity. Just like with a regular exercise routine, you should consult your doctor to know the recommended intensity and frequency of exercise that is right for you. So, if you ever feel tired or like you’re sore and need a rest day, view that as a sign to take a break.

What are the top 5 states for Pickleball?

California has the highest number of places to play Pickleball, with 794 known locations. Florida has the 2nd most places to play Pickleball with 770 locations, and Texas is third with 519 locations, followed by North Carolina at 421 and New York with 400 courts. Check out more statistics about Pickleball at Pickleheads.com.

What does a Pickleball court look like?

A pickleball court officially measures 20×44 feet, and it’s the same size as a doubles badminton court. Its net is two inches lower than a tennis net in the middle, resting at 34 inches while being 36 inches a the sidelines (tennis nets are 42 inches in the same spots). A Pickleball court has a 7-foot-long non-volley zone that players call “the kitchen.” It has similar stripes to a tennis court, containing right and left service courts. Since there are so many similarities in court design with the potential to customize, one can easily convert a pickleball court to a badminton or tennis court as needed.

Why is Pickleball so popular?

As builders and developers continue to check the pulse of what buyers want, Pickleball courts continue to pop up everywhere around the country. As a sport that is playable by the young and old and people of all fitness levels, it’s a wonderful way to bring people together! If you are looking for a new construction home community to call your own (and to perhaps find one with Pickleball courts), contact Marketplace Homes today!

Summary: Pickleball is America’s fastest growing sport, but why? This article explains why pickleball is more popular than ever. It also shares fun facts about the sport.