Who plays pickleball and why do they play it?

Interest In Pickleball is Booming In The USA

For a while Pickleball was just a fun activity played socially by older generations and families on holidays.

In the last 5 years Pickleball has grown from that fun social activity to a fully fledged sport. Its appeal is spreading quickly to younger and younger players, and players of diverse backgrounds and abilities.

Pickleball is recognised officially as The fastest growing sport in the US after achiving the highest growth rate of any sport in both 2020 and 2021.

As Sport & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) reported in its Annual Topline Participation Report ..

Pickleball continues its incredible rise, becoming the fastest-growing sport over the last two years, with participation seeing a 39.3% growth.

Pickleball Is Growing Fast Worldwide

Pickleball is now recognised as a sport in many countries around the world.

Pickleball associations are growing around the world in Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and of course in United States where it all started.

Australian Pickleball Growth

Pickleball has been played on a small scale in Australia since 2015 but over the last few years Pickleball has experienced rapid growth in all States.

The national association for Pickleball in Australia is Pickleball Australia Association Limited (PAA) which has affiliates in each state and many cities across the country.

2022 Australian Pickleball Championships saw 433 players converge on the Queensland Tennis Centre over 3 days to compete for Prizes and bragging rights.

Coming from other sports..

While some Picklers previously competed in racquet sports like Tennis, Squash and Badminton, most Picklers had not played a racquet sport seriously before they played Pickleball.

Some Picklers previously played Netball, Rugby, Soccer or other competitive team sports, and some Picklers still do.

For many Picklers there is something magic about the mix of socialising and competing that is energising and addictive. It is this social competitive energy that keeps us motivated to show up time and time again, to get a work out harder and more consistent than we ever got from a gym membership or exercise group.

All ages and abilities

However, unlike any of the other sports above, Pickleball is a non-impact competitive sport most of us can play well into our 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond.

I frequently played with (and have been beaten by) teams which includ a Pickler with an disability or ongoing difficulty. Some are in a Wheelchair or living with an ongoing issue like tears (tendons, muscles, etc), arthritis or Plantar fasciitis. I have also played with Picklers who in the past suffered strokes, heart attacks, knee surgeries and many other things which might rule them out of most competitive sports.

Yet there they are week after week hard at it for 2 hours with a smile on their face.