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Why is pickleball so popular?

Why is pickleball so popular? Find out how this exciting game compares to other racket sports.
Fans in North America say pickleball is addictive. There are more than 3.5 million players across the pond, with the Sports & Industry Association measuring 12% annual growth in take-up. The Worls Pickleball Federation (WPF) believes it could become the most popular sport in the world. 
One of the reasons pickleball has taken off so quickly is that it's super-easy to get started. Using a paddle with a short handle and a perforated plastic 'wiffle' ball, players can learn the basics within a few minutes and play a doubles or singles game. People can take it up confidently without a lot of racket sport experience. That means you can play against more people - it's easy to encourage friends and family to join you on the court. 
So pickleball has a big accessibility advantage, compared to traditional racket sports. 

Pickleball vs Tennis

Take tennis. The large size of a tennis court can be daunting for new players. It's harder to be accurate with a large, springy racket and a bouncy ball travelling a long way. Newbies can get frustrated and fatigued quickly, collecting mis-hit balls, running from one side of the court to the other and strugging with shot control. It can take quite a few coaching sessions before you can enjoy a satisfying basic rally.

Pickleball vs Table Tennis

In contrast, pickleball is more like table tennis to take up. In both table tennis and pickleball, distances are short, the pace is rapid and it's easy to get the feel of a small, solid bat. But pickleball has an advantage: you can play either outdoors or indoors without a cumbersome table. All you need is a portable net and a marked out court. You also get more of a workout from pickleball, because you're moving further around a small court rather than just a table. 

Pickleball vs Badminton
How about badminton? The outdoor game has been popular during lockdown, with players of all levels enjoying matches on garden grass across a portable net. Pickleball offers the same flexibility, plus you don't need a lawned garden or strung rackets that are easily damaged by newbies. Pickleball is played with robust hard paddles on a hard surface - it could be a driveway, a sports hall or a chalked-out tennis court or recreation area. 

Pickleball vs Squash
We're top fans of squash here at pdhsports, but we have to admit that it takes strength and agility to play the game at club level. Pickleball puts less strain on the body and makes it easy for mixed ability groups to enjoy a satisfying game. Because pickleball makes fewer demands than squash for basic technique, less experienced hitters with smart tactics can compete surprisingly successfully against racket sport afficionados in pickleball. And squash is always indoors - you can choose a fresh air location with pickleball!

The pdhsports team verdict
Just because it's easy to get started with pickleball, it's no less satisfying and challenging for players with strong skills in other racket sports. It's a great add-on to your racket skills repertoire and offers you a wider range of opponents and doubles partners - including friends and family. That means more chances to play!
The WPF's publication "Play pickleball - A beginner's guide" borrows a popular slogan: it takes a few minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. 
Give pickleball a try and discover how you current racket skills adapt to the very different demands of this exciting new game. And enjoy the bonus of being able to include family and friends who wouldn't or couldn't take you on in a traditional racket sports game. 
Need pickleball kit? You know we've got everything you need! Visit our specialist pickleball store for paddlesballsnetsshoes and sportswear.

2 November 2020

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