If you haven’t heard of pickleball, it is a sport commonly played in retrofitted tennis courts and by senior citizens. It is described as a mix of tennis, ping-pong, and racquetball. A court, net, paddles, and a wiffle ball are required to play the game. Pickleball can be played either in singles or in doubles, though the latter is more popular. The sport is currently gaining popularity in the United States.
According to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), Pickleball has had a 650% growth in players in a period of six years. Younger people shared a bigger part in the number than senior citizens, who are more known to play the sport. Facilities that have provided a court and communities for pickleball contributed to the growth. If you want to play this sports in your community, professional pickleball court contractors are available in Utah and other states.
Pickleball has many good qualities and benefits. Here is a set of reasons pickleball is a good sport for young and older people:
Like any other sport, playing pickleball is a form of exercise. But other than the physical benefits, two new studies found that the sport could aid in depression. It offers a form of mental exercise because it requires a lot of strategies to defeat the opposing player. The Leisure Studies journal published a Japanese study showing that 153 older adults associate lower levels of depression with the leisure of competing in pickleball.
Another study by the Western State Colorado University noted that 15 middle-aged adults and older adults claimed that their blood pressure and cardio-respiratory fitness have improved by playing pickleball three times a week, for one hour in six weeks.
Without a doubt, physical and mental exercise is good for the body, regardless of age. And pickleball gives those exercises and boosted well-being.
Interactive and Social
49-year-old Rocky Brown is a real estate professional who founded pickleball leagues soon after discovering the sport and enjoying it. His partner, Josh Jenkins, says the game’s mixed demographics is one of the reasons it’s appealing to many. Meanwhile, Brown says that the sport is great for families and that for young kids, pickleball is good for enhancing hand-eye coordination.
Sandy Fruean, a former gym teacher and is now a pickler (someone who play pickleball), says people get addicted to the sport easily. The Sports and Fitness Industry Association has estimated that 3.13 million people in the U.S. have played pickleball in 2017. Fruean says that if municipalities start providing facilities for pickleball, people would come, and she was right. After starting with a cohort of roughly 30 picklers, Freuan now has 280 players from ages 16-85, with most of them being in their 60’s. She, like Brown and Jenkins, also manages games.
Betsy Heidenberger, a 58-year-old tennis pro, was also fascinated by pickleball and has forgone tennis for it. She is currently trying to organize a league in small tennis clubs with pickleball courts. She’s also offering pickleball clinics in those same clubs.
Considering all of these, it is safe to say that pickleball offers a lot of opportunity for social interactions, which our mental health would love, too.
Pickleball is an affordable sport
Access to many municipal pickleball courts are free, and league play is cheaper than other racquet sports. Gear is affordable too; a beginner can buy their first basic paddle and ball for only about $30, and they can even buy gear online.
Setting up a court is affordable as well because pickleball doesn’t require a dedicated court, considering it’s commonly played in retrofitted tennis courts. With tapes and a portable net, picklers are good to go for at least half an hour.
Lastly, it’s a quick sport
15 minutes is all it takes for a typical match. However, picklers can go for more. The best part probably is that, in those 15 minutes, rigorous running is not required. Playing pickleball is an exercise with a very low risk of injury. Rocky Brown says that for him, 2-hour gameplay is equivalent to a 4-mile walk.
Pickleball’s amazing qualities are perfect even for people who aren’t very much of a sports junkie. The minimal risk of injury, quick gameplay, and health and social benefits are attractive to many. Josh Jenkins is seeing no signs of the sport’s popularity slowing down. According to him, some college campuses are already having it for intramural sports, and this natural progression could make the sport popular in high schools.