What is Pickleball?

What is Pickleball

Last updated on February 6th, 2023 at 01:52 pm

Pickleball is a game that combines multiple sports, including badminton, tennis, and ping pong, into one sport. The game can occur indoors or outdoors and has the exact court dimensions you would have in badminton, except that the net is lower to the ground, like in tennis or ping pong. The ball for pickleball is more like a whiffle ball, and the paddles are similar to what you would find for ping pong but only bigger and more durable.


So, how is pickleball different from tennis and badminton? Is pickleball easier than either sport? Is pickleball for older adults only, and is it good exercise for everyone playing? What should you wear to play pickleball, and how fast is the game growing in popularity?


Here is the complete breakdown of what pickleball is and more.


How is Pickleball Different from Tennis?

How is Pickleball Different from Tennis

While watching pickleball and tennis might look similar, there are numerous differences between both sports. The paddles (rackets) for tennis are made of a tightly spun mesh material, while pickleball is a solid paddle. Along with the contrast of paddles and rackets, their size is vastly different, with pickleball rackets being much smaller. Finally, pickleball serves occur underhand, while tennis can be underhand or overhand during a game.


Another difference between tennis games and pickleball matches is the ball itself. In tennis, they play games with a bouncy solid ball. Meanwhile, pickleball games take place with a Wiffle ball, meaning the hits are slower than you would have during a tennis match.


Finally, outside of scoring, with tennis going by 15 points while pickleball is by one point, pickleball games have a no-volley zone to remember. The no-volley area stops players from spiking the ball in the air when they are close to the net. Unlike in tennis, where you can play close to the net and spike it, pickleball does not allow that type of hit while you have a foot in this area.


How is Pickleball Different from Badminton?

How is Pickleball Different from Badminton

While pickleball and badminton are similar, like the court size, there are numerous differences between both sports. To start, the ball itself between both sports is vastly different. The ball in pickleball is similar to a Wiffle ball, while in badminton, it is more of a dart-like object with a feather-like material to keep it floating in the air longer.


Another difference between both sports is the height of the net. In badminton, the net’s height is 5 feet, while pickleball’s is 3 feet. With the difference in height between both sports, the gameplay is also different, where badminton relies on volleys in the air while pickleball tends to have a bounce in return.


Is Pickleball Easier than Tennis?

Is Pickleball Easier than Tennis

Tennis tends to be more challenging to play than pickleball because the gameplay speed is faster, the court is bigger, and players have to move faster than during a pickleball game. Additionally, tennis games require excellent hand-eye coordination since the ball speed is faster than what you see during a pickleball game. Finally, since the court is bigger in a tennis game, you will become more tired during a tennis game faster than you will during a standard pickleball game.


However, while tennis games tend to be harder than pickleball, pickleball is still a game that requires tremendous skill and athleticism to master. Players in pickleball still need to run across the court to return shots, have great hand-eye coordination, and have skills in performing certain shots during games with backspin or sidespin.


Is Pickleball for Older Adults?

Is Pickleball for Older Adults

Pickleball is a game that any age can play, but it is popular with older adults for numerous reasons. One reason for the popularity of more senior players is that the court is smaller than tennis, so there is less space to cover. With less space to cover, there is a smaller chance of an injury since you don’t have to move back and forth to the court as far as you would in tennis.


Another reason older adults tend to play pickleball is that it is easy to pick up with friends. Since the game is similar to badminton, tennis, and ping pong, most adults can learn the game quickly since they are familiar with those games. Since pickleball takes some aspects from these three sports, learning the rules of this game tends to have a slight learning curve.


Finally, while pickleball works for any age, older players tend to gravitate towards it because it can occur year-round in gyms and other recreational areas. Numerous leagues are forming year-round for people to join. What makes pickleball so enticing to older players is that it is a sport that doesn’t require as much physical injury as a sport like basketball or soccer. However, pickleball is popular for all ages, no matter how old you are.


Is Pickleball a Good Form of Exercise?

Is Pickleball a Good Form of Exercise

Playing pickleball is an excellent cardiovascular workout. It requires a lot of movement to exercise many different muscle groups. It also provides light strength training, which can help counteract muscle degeneration caused by age.


Other benefits of playing pickleball include increased stamina and balance, hand-eye coordination, and improved reflexes. It also increases the range of motion, which helps prevent muscle stiffness.


What Should You Wear to Play Pickleball?

What Should You Wear to Play Pickleball

When playing pickleball, you should wear comfortable clothing and athletic shoes that will not hinder your movement. If the weather is warmer for play, players can wear shorts and a t-shirt. You can also wear sunglasses, a hat, and sweatbands too.


For colder pickleball play, players can wear warm clothes. However, consider wearing clothes that won’t cause you to overheat since you will be moving around throughout the game. Some popular cold-weather pickleball outfits include a shirt with long sleeves and shorts with either leggings or long socks.


How Fast is Pickleball Growing in America?

How Fast is Pickleball Growing in America

According to NBC News, pickleball was the fastest-growing sport in America from 2019 to 2021. According to the report, pickleball players grew from under 3 million in 2014 to under 5 million in 2021. The most significant growth of players took place from 2019 to 2020.


Part of the game’s growth comes from the relatively easy rules and the ability to play on tennis courts. Towns and cities are investing in specific pickleball courts for their residents, and leagues are forming across the country. More than 38,000 pickleball courts are in the United States, and that number keeps growing.


Finally, significant sponsors investing in the game are adding to the game’s growth. Sports celebrities like Tom Brady are getting into the action with investment, which adds to the game’s popularity.


Are there any Professional Pickleball Leagues?

Are there any Professional Pickleball Leagues

The Pro Pickleball Association, or PPA, is the premier professional pickleball league. At the same time, Major League Pickleball, or MLP, is an upstart team-based league that has already involved some big-name investors.


There are now national and international pickleball competitions. The International Federation of Pickleball (IFIP) began in 2010 with less than 70 members. But despite its rapid growth, it still needs to be closer to achieving its ultimate goal – inclusion in the Olympic Games.


Conclusion: What is Pickleball?

In summary, pickleball is a sport that combines other games into one. Pickleball games are a mixture of tennis, badminton, and ping pong matches to create a new type of sport. Along with that, the paddles, ball, and net aren’t that expensive compared to either sport, like golf, which opens up this game to a broader audience who want to get into the action.


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