What is pickleball and why is it so popular?


Woman playing pickleball outside

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Sorry, the following game does not involve pickles, pickleback shots or any type of food-preservation techniques. Pickleball is a racquet sport that was created in 1965 and has been gaining some serious steam with over 150,000 active players, or “picklers,” in the United State and around the world. That’s almost triple from 2010.

So what’s all the fuss about?

A cross between tennis, badminton and ping pong, pickleball’s allure is that it’s easy, fun and everyone can play. While you may find your grandparents in a heated pickleball match at their active-adult community, kids are also  getting in on the action at their middle schools and high schools. There are also competitive tournaments, including the sixth annual Nationals event, which takes place Nov. 2 to Nov. 9. It was even admitted into the National Senior Games in 2013 — the first new sport in 20 years, according to the New York Times.

According to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), the game is growing internationally, with many European and Asian countries adding courts. Visit the USAPA website to find a place to play near you.

Each player uses a pickleball paddle, which is smaller than a tennis racquet but larger than a ping-pong paddle, to hit a ball that is similar to a wiffleball over the net. The court is 20 feet by 44 feet — the same size as a doubles badminton court (they can be converted using existing tennis or badminton courts); and the net height is 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches in the middle. Learn the ins and outs of pickleball here.