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Pickleball: The ultimate family sport

Pickleball: The ultimate family sport Why you should pick up a paddle or four for family fun and fitness.

The UK's newest racket sport is taking off in a big way. Pickleball has soared in popularity in North America and enthusiasts in Europe predict that we'll follow their lead.

One of the main reasons for pickleball's wide-scale adoption is that it's a fantastic game for players of all ages and abilities. Beginners can quickly pick up the basic skills, while capable racket sports players will find it challenges their existing tactics and techniques.

For families, pickleball could be the answer to the constant challenge of getting everyone active in a fun and effective way. 

The NHS Change for Life programme recommens that kids should aim for 60 minutes of activity every day. With the lure of games consoles, snapchat and Netflix, it can be hard to tempt teens or toddlers away from their screens. But a fresh new sport could just spark their interest. Fifteen-minute pickleball games give players a decent workout, without feeling daunting if they're at the start of a fitness journey. 

The newness of pickleball is also a benefit when it comes to sporting self-esteem. If an adult is already a good racket sport player, it can put youngsters off joining in, if they fear they'll look incompetent. But if it's the first time for everyone, trying a game of pickleball is less imtimidating. Kids usually get the hang of pickleball quickly, which builds their self-confidence and encourages them the kepp playing. 

The fun factor is another big plus. Pickleball fans praise the sociable, friendly and entertaining nature of the game. Rallies move on fast, so mistakes are quickly forgotten. Playing in a four on a small court creates a certain amount of physical comedy, with pickleball players dodging each other and calling out instructions to try and share the shots to best advantage. Laughter is a key ingredient. 

And it's not just for youngsters. The accessibility of pickleball means it's easy to involve older family members who might be putting off joining in with more aggressive or intense sports. 

Getting your family into pickleball doesn't need to be a big deal. Use a portable net and chalk out a court on a driveway or recreation area, or find an indoor or outdoor pickleball venue nearby. More and more clubs are springing up in the UK.

All you need is a set of paddles and a ball, plus the rules of the game. For harmonious family play, make sure everyone grasps the rules before you start scoring!

11 November 2020

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