Pickleball is growing in popularity, but what is it?

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Evansville Seems to Love Pickleball

It seems like whenever we hear news of a new development in Evansville there are pickleball courts involved.  I had never even heard of pickleball until recently, and now I'm seeing it everywhere.  Recently my husband and I toured a gym, and they were telling us about their pickleball courts our tour guide's exact words were "on Thursday mornings you may want to steer clear because pickle ballers are serious about their pickleball!"  She then went on to say that of course if we wanted to get into playing pickleball, Thursday mornings were perfect for us.    With all of these pickleball additions coming to Evansville, it begs the question, what the heck IS pickleball?

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash
Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash
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A Funny Sounding Sport

While pickleball is certainly a funny-sounding sport, it's actually a sport that combines two fairly common sports, ping pong, and badminton. Here is how USAPickleball.org describes the sport:

Pickleball is a court sport played on a badminton-sized court with the net set to a height of 34 inches at the center. It is played with a perforated plastic ball and composite or wooden paddles about twice the size of ping-pong paddles. It can be played indoors or outdoors and is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. In addition, the game has developed a passionate following due to its friendly, social nature, and its multi-generational appeal.

Photo by Brendan Sapp on Unsplash
Photo by Brendan Sapp on Unsplash
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The sport has been around for nearly 60 years and was invented in 1965 (58 years in 2023 to be exact), there's actually an interesting story as to how the sport got its name, and it involves a cocker spaniel named Pickle. You can find the stories of how pickleball's name originated, here.

Photo by Venti Views on Unsplash
Photo by Venti Views on Unsplash
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Pickleball's Popularity Continues to Grow

Pickleball is enjoyed by millions of Americans, and it seems in recent years the popularity of the sport has really grown.  A report in 2021 says about 4.8 million people across the US play pickleball, and that number continues to grow.  USA Pickleball says the sport grew 14.8% from 2020-2021 and has had an average annual growth rate of 11.8% over the last five years.  So the sport just continues to get more and more popular.

Photo by Joan Azeka on Unsplash
Photo by Joan Azeka on Unsplash
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You know what they say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! And if all of this pickleball talk has you wanting to try the sport out, you can check out USAPickleball.org for information on how to get started.

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