Pickleball: The Next Big Club Sport

Sara Perry

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April 20, 2022

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category

minute read

PUblished

April 20, 2022

Decades after the sport was created, pickleball has captured the hearts of players around the world.

With 38,140 known courts (and countless others set up in driveways across the country), pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the US. It has captivated players of all ages, and is quickly becoming a spectator sport with Olympic aspirations.

So what is pickleball, and why is it so popular?

We're taking a closer look at the sport and sharing how your club can thrive with it. But before we can talk about growth, let's talk about why millions of players across the world are embracing pickleball.  

What is pickleball?  

It all started in the summer of 1965 when three fathers started searching for a way to keep their families entertained. After throwing together a badminton net, some ping pong paddles, and a plastic ball, the sport of pickleball was born.  

Played in either doubles or singles, pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. It’s played with specialized paddles and a perforated plastic ball on a badminton-size court.  

While pickleball’s popularity has steadily grown in the decades since its inception, it’s become rapidly famous following Covid-19.

According to USA Pickleball, the player base has grown by 39.3% over the last two years. There are an estimated 4.8 million players in the US alone, and that number will keep growing as the sport continues to expand internationally.  

Why is pickleball so popular?  

With millions of players and a presence in over 60 countries worldwide, pickleball has certainly built a passionate fanbase.

Courts are popping up across the country at retirement communities, recreation centers, and restaurants like Chicken N Pickle. The International Federation of Pickleball has even set its sights on the Olympics. But what is it about pickleball that’s so captivating?  

Pickleball is quick to play and easy for anyone to pick up, no matter the age. An average game takes 15 minutes, making it easy for players to fit the sport into their schedule.

The simple rules also make it very beginner friendly. Between the brief playtime and short learning curve, pickleball is perfect for casual players and families.  

Pickleball doesn’t require as much running as tennis due to its smaller court, making it less strenuous on the body. The sport has been particularly popular among older players as a result, with 31% of players over the age of 55.  

The cross-generational appeal and compact court create a friendly social environment as well.

Players are close enough to chat while playing, which has been deeply impactful following the effects of Covid-19.  

How does pickleball affect your club?

As pickleball’s popularity continues to rise, you have an opportunity to grow your club along with it.

To keep your club thriving, you need to both gain and retain members. Leaning in to pickleball’s wide appeal can help you bring new members into the fold. Adding a new offering to your club is also a great way to pique your current members’ interest and increase retention rates.  

People of all ages are finding a new favorite sport in pickleball. It’s here to stay, and with it come new opportunities to grow your club. Stay tuned for the next part of our series where we’ll take a closer look at how introducing pickleball can help you retain members.  

Interested in learning more about how Club Automation can power pickleball at your club? Get a demo today.  

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A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

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A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

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A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

  • Just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection
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