Looking for a new activity to pick up over the winter? Tired of bowling or line dancing? Pickleball may sound odd but it’s popularity is soaring across North America.
Pickleball, although nearly 50 years old, is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, especially among older adults who want to stay active and socially engaged. The game is a combination of tennis, badminton and ping pong and is played with a paddle and a wiffleball on a short court.
Older adults enjoy the friendly but competitive nature of the game which utilizes quick thinking along with physical activity and of course social interaction. Most popular in retirement communities in Florida, the game is exploding on the scene across the United States and Canada. It is played on outdoor courts where weather permits and indoors in community and retirement centers, parks, YMCAs and schools. And like tennis or badminton, can be played as singles or doubles.
Some claim the game was named after the creator’s dog, Pickles, but others experts say the name references the sport of rowing in which a group of rowers mixed together from other boats are sometime referred to as the pickle boat. Pickleball, a mix of different sports, an apt name for the game, stuck.
According to the USA Pickleball Association, there are currently approximately 2.5 million players and participation is growing at nearly 2 per cent a year. Players of all ages enjoy both casual and more competitive Pickleball but the core participants are generally aged 55 and older.
If you are looking for a sport that is still competitive and fun but maybe a little easier on the knees, Pickleball may be the game for you. As you improve with ability the game becomes faster paced and more challenging.
To learn more about the sport and how to get involved, visit the USAPA association website by following this link.