I think it's safe to say we've all had a Pickleball-related conversation that starts off this way:
You: “I play a sport called pickleball”
Stranger: “Pickle what?!”
The name “pickleball” garners odd reactions. However, within that same conversation, you’re also probably explaining that pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in North America. Amirite? Well, folks, it’s true, pickleball is a very popular sport but what exactly makes it so addicting??
First of all, it’s a game that can be played with immediate success. Unlike some other sports that require eye-hand coordination or can be hard to maintain a rally, it’s quite easy to hit a pickleball ball over the net, creating a rally situation. The feeling of instant success on a pickleball court makes one curious to know more about the game. What are the rules? How many points are in a game? Where can I play regularly?
The wonderful thing about pickleball is that you can burn a good amount of calories and barely even notice because you’re having so much fun. In pickleball, it’s common for a player to spend many hours playing without noticing yet at the end of the day they leave sweaty and exhausted. Social media has been great in allowing people to post their progress on losing inches and pounds as a result of playing pickleball.
Playing pickleball is not going to break the bank in comparisons to some sports like golf or hockey. Paddles range from $50-$200+ CAD and balls are about $15 CAD for a 3-pack. Drop-in fees range between $0-$10. For the player who participates in the “average” amount of 2 times per week, for approximately 3 hours each time (6 hours total per week) a paddle could last 2 years, which works out to “dirt cheap” in terms of sporting equipment expenses. Of course, factoring in shoes, apparel, and travel expenses the numbers jump a bit, but it’s still a very affordable sport to invest in.
It’s an exciting time to follow pickleball professionals. The game is changing to be faster and more dynamic. Live streaming and broadcasts make watching the sport more accessible. Because of the transferable skills between pickleball and racquet sports, more and more young tennis (or other racquet sport) players are entering the pro circuit as well. These athletes are changing the pace of the game and turning pickleball into a spectator sport.
The numbers don’t lie. The Sport and Fitness Industry Association reports that over 3 million people in the US play pickleball and 75,000 in Canada. Pickleball is accessible in local community centres, YMCAs, private racquet clubs and even in schools. Most drop-in formats are open to players of all levels, even total newbies and they often supply basic paddles and the pickleball balls. So, if you haven’t yet tried pickleball we recommend you do a quick google search or check out our article “Where to Play Pickleball in the GTA” and find pickleball near you!