Fitness | 09.06.2022

Why Is Pickleball So Fun?

A woman playing pickleball on a court.

By Paula Bennett

Pickleball is one of my favorite sports. Why? You can become a good player in just three hours. If you play tennis or other racquet sports, it will take you one hour. You can play with anyone. You can make new friends and play on pickleball courts anywhere in the US. It is the one sport that you can play with your adult sons or daughters and BEAT them!

If you are a first-time player, try a pickleball camp to get up to speed quickly. Level Up Pickleball Camp or Nike Pickleball Camps are your best options.

If you’re raring to go, I’ll see you on the courts. Not convinced? Read on.

A woman mid-hit playing pickleball.

What Is Pickleball?

The game of pickleball was created in 1965 by a trio of fathers who sought to provide a fun activity for their children. Today, it is a widely trending sport with over 4.2 million participants, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s Topline Participation Report.

Those dads got it right! Pickleball is a fun sport rising in popularity for several reasons.

Not only is it an excellent way to get your weekly exercise, but playing pickleball is also a fun way to build relationships with other players. Although the game has nothing to do with pickles, here’s why it’s so beloved.

Pickleball is a sport that combines principles from badminton, tennis, and table tennis. The sport is played over an adjusted tennis net on a badminton court. When it comes to actual gameplay, it looks a lot like tennis.

The USA Pickleball (USAP) is the organization that governs the game’s rules. Here are the main rules to understand:

  • You play games to 11 points and have to win by two points.
  • You can only earn points when you or your partner serve.
  • Doubles or singles games are played on a 20-foot by 44-foot court.
  • The ball resembles a plastic Wiffle ball with uniformly round holes.
  • Paddles are made of fiberglass, aluminum, graphite, and other polymers.
  • You must keep the ball within the boundaries of the court, much like tennis.

The rules are relatively easy to pick up. If you have played tennis before, you’ll most likely get the hang of pickleball pretty quickly, which is one reason it’s one of the fastest-growing sports.

Why Pickleball is so Fun

So, why is pickleball fun? The list is endless, but the top reasons the sport saw a 21.3% increase in participation in 2020 include the following.

To Play Pickleball Offers Many Health Benefits

Okay, so is health fun? Debatable, but pickleball is valuable because it gets your body moving and can be played by people of all ages. And it’s certainly more fun than alternatives for exercise!

Subsequently, when you release endorphins playing pickleball, pickleball players may notice:

  • Reduced stress 
  • Boosted immune systems
  • Improved hand-eye coordination
  • Improved overall memory

Pickleball’s small court enables you to work on your agility and back-and-forth movement and improve your reaction time and motor skills.

The ball volleys quickly, so you always need to be on your toes which is great exercise! With weekly pickleball, you’ll help improve functionality in other areas of your life. In fact, you may even notice that this great sport can lower blood pressure.

Pickleball Creates Healthy Competition

Pickleball is a popular sport everyone can enjoy through the senior Olympics, USAPA events, or simply your Thursday morning sessions at the local gym. 

The game always brings out the competitive spirit, especially in a doubles setting. Your partner shares the same goal as you, and it is always rewarding to work towards success with a teammate, especially on a smaller court.

There are many benefits to engaging in competitive sports like pickleball. Not only can you develop character and teamwork skills, but your focus allows you to become more fit.

Pickleball Provides Social Benefits

Not only do you develop a strong relationship with your pickleball playing partner, but you can also engage with your competitors. Pickleball builds a community among its players, especially if everyone plays at the same gym.

Playing pickleball with the same group of people also provides a sense of belonging. It gives you something to look forward to every week. All players show up to have fun and compete while becoming healthier human beings simultaneously.

A close up shot of a pickleball paddle and ball preparing for a serve.

Pickleball Does Not Take Too Long to Learn

While there is an extensive list of playing rules, the game of pickleball has a short learning curve. Pickleball is like racquetball and tennis, so prior experience in those sports will shorten the curve even more. Regardless of your athletic history, the sport has a straightforward set of fundamentals to follow.

It would be best to get a couple of solo or pair practice sessions completed before you start engaging in singles or doubles. You should also remember to purchase the right amount of safety gear before taking on the sport. If you want to stay cute even on the court, these glasses emulate regular glasses for a stylish take on eye protection. If you’re okay with a sportier look, the addition of a safety strap can keep your glasses in place during intense games.

Pickleball Is Cost-Effective to Play

The sport of pickleball is becoming much more popular. You may notice the rise of courts popping up at gyms, schools, churches, parks, and other communal areas. 

Even with any gym fees that you may already pay, obtaining a court is not too costly. Most outdoor parks will operate on a “first-come, first-serve” basis, but most facilities will have a low hourly rate that you can choose.

Other than the location, the equipment needed for pickleball does not make up a long list. When you purchase a paddle, balls, and safety goggles, your total should only be around $100. If you want to get started easily, opt for this two-paddle set with balls for you and a partner to play. Sports Illustrated picked this as their 2022 favorite for a durable polymer and fiberglass construction and sweat-absorbant, cushioned grip.

Pickleball’s Scoring System Is Easier Than Tennis

It is sometimes tough to keep track of the 15, 30, and 40 scores when you play tennis. Deuce and advantage points can also make your headspace cloudy while focusing on the game.

When it comes to pickleball, most games will award the win to the first team with 11 points (win by two). However, you can only score points in two situations: on your or your partner’s serve. Because the games are shorter, it is fun and engaging to play.

Pickleball Can Be Played Anywhere

Pickleball is a sport that can take place in a variety of locations. Not only can you start a game at an established gym or facility, but you could also bring your paddles and balls to a park tennis court.

You can also buy affordable nets to set up an entire pickleball court from scratch.

What to Wear for Pickleball

As a social sport, pickleball is an opportunity to wear comfortable, yet cute outfits. Many items for tennis work for pickleball. 

A seventies inspired tennis outfit with red stripes.
Tory Burch – Seventies-Inspired Sportwear

Inspired by 70s-era sportswear, this performance jersey dress has a soft, breathable fabric with a flattering drop waist. Pair it over your favorite pair of shorts for protection while playing. To keep off a post-workout chill, pair this dress in Snow White with its matching knit jacket featuring a cute, racquet embroidery. 

A woman wearing a lime green active shirt at a pickleball court.
L’Etoile & Bobbe Active – Light-Footed in Lime

For a sportier look, this staple dress features a polo collar and contrasting trim and zipper. It’s quick dry with comfortable, four way stretch for high-comforting when playing. If you’re playing into the fall, pair with Bobbe Active’s Long Sleeve in Lime for an added layer with a similar color motif. 

For more versatility, Bobbe Active’s box-pleated tennis skirt features contrast trim in the same Lime as their long-sleeve top, so buying their skirt allows for easy mix-and-match with the same outerwear. Just add your favorite white athletic top. 

An all-white, pointelle lace tennis outfit.
Veronica Beard – Matching Lace

Featuring a zip-front dress and coordinating jacket, this pair is feminine, yet functional with four-way stretch fabric in pointelle lace. The texture of the lace is subtle, yet unique for some added flair on the court (without breaking any Tennis-white dress codes). 

A navy and white pickleball outfit.
L’Oeuf Poche – Coordinating Classics

A classic, navy and white striped motif make this outfit a timeless look. The baseline skort features an A-line, straight silhouette with built-in shorts and two front pockets (perfect for grabbing run-away balls). The multi-functional jacket matches the same navy with a lightweight, but warm weight. Pair them (and the Bobbe Active skirt above) with their simple, but elevated ruffle polo in white. It’s easily styled with your other pieces, but the ruffle collar adds extra interest. 

Final Wrap Up

Pickleball is an engaging sport with many social, physical, and health benefits. Not only is it easier to score than tennis, but the court is also smaller for better volleys. The game is accessible and portable, regardless of whether you want to play in a gym, park, or yard.

Regardless of your pre-existing skill level, pickleball is a sport for everyone to try out. Contact your local gym to see when its members usually play. You never know what relationships and specific joys pickleball will introduce to you!

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