Did you know that pickleball is America's fastest-growing sport? Today, the sport boasts the support of more than 36 million Americans and is played in 63 countries worldwide. This rise in popularity is mainly because the game is easy to play, appeals to a wide range of people and offers numerous health benefits.
If you are planning to jump on the bandwagon or are already playing pickleball, there are a few things you need to know. Besides understanding the basics of the game, it is important to appreciate the benefits associated with it. This will go a long way in helping you get the most out of the sport. So what exactly should you know about pickleball? Keep reading to learn more.
WHAT IS PICKLEBALL?
Pickleball is a paddle sport that merges multiple elements of ping-pong, badminton and tennis into a single game. The game is played on a court with a net running down the center, dividing it into two halves. Players use flat paddles to hit a hollow bouncing plastic ball over the net.
Founded in 1965, pickleball is a fun and social sport that does not take itself too seriously. As such, you do not have to be a pro athlete to have fun playing the game.
THE BASICS OF PICKLEBALL
Pickleball can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors, on a court measuring 44 feet long and 20 feet wide. Also, it can be played either in singles or doubles. The sport does not have a dress code; players can wear anything comfortable and appropriate for the weather.
Although the rules are simple and the game is easy to learn, it can become fast-paced and competitive.
HOW IT IS PLAYED
Just like with other racket sports, the basic aim of pickleball is to hit the ball over the net, ensure it is within the boundaries of the court and prevent the opponents from hitting it back. The game begins with a serve and points are scored only on the serve. The two opposing teams keep hitting the ball over the net until one side commits an infraction or is unable to return the ball.
Typically, pickleball is played to 11 points and is won when one team is first to reach a score of 11 and has at least a two-point lead. Some of the factors that play a crucial role in winning this game are precision, reaction time and strategy.
WHY IS IT SO POPULAR?
Between 2019 and 2021, pickleball grew nearly 40 percent. But how is the sport able to appeal to a wide range of players, regardless of age? Here are a few reasons why the game's popularity continues to grow.
- It is inexpensive: All you need to enjoy a pickleball game is a paddle and a ball, equipment that you can buy at reasonable prices. Also, the game does not require a large space.
- The game is easy to learn: The rules are simple and it only takes a short time to learn how to play properly, making pickleball ideal for all skill levels.
- Almost anyone can play: Compared to other racket games, pickleball is easier on the body. The game is comparatively slower, does not involve extreme moves, the serves are easier to make and there is less ground to cover.
- Pickleball is a social activity: While pickleball can be played competitively, it is oftentimes a casual activity that allows for conversation. This not only makes for multi-generational fun but is also a great way to meet new people.
- It is a good workout: Although the sport is not as physically vigorous on the body, playing pickleball is great exercise for the mind and body. You can burn up to 350 calories per hour playing the game without feeling like you are working out.
WHAT ARE ITS BENEFITS?
Pickleball is not just a sport, it is a lifestyle. This game offers a ton of benefits that can contribute significantly towards your quality of life. The top benefits of playing pickleball include:
GIVES THE BODY A FULL WORKOUT
Pickleball is considered an aerobic exercise because it involves movement by the entire body. Also, the game is easy on the joints, making it a great way to help seniors stay active. Playing pickleball not only leaves you feeling refreshed but also strengthens your muscles and bones.
By encouraging an active lifestyle, playing pickleball is associated with a host of physical and mental health benefits. Potential health benefits of pickleball include:
- Improved balance, coordination and agility
- A strengthened immune system
- Better cardiorespiratory fitness and blood pressure
- Less risk of heart disease
- Reduced risk of chronic diseases
- Better cognitive function and memory recall
PROMOTES SOCIAL INTERACTION
Pickleball fosters social bonds. Whether you play singles or doubles, the game presents an opportunity to connect with others. This can help you make new friendships, is good for your mental health and can improve the quality of your life.
Playing pickleball is a great way to relieve stress. Apart from having a good time with other players, the body releases endorphins during exercise. This helps to reduce stress, elevate your mood and improve your sense of well-being.
Looking for a pickleball court where you can improve your skills and reset your health? Merritt Clubs has high-quality pickleball courts at the Canton and Eldersburg locations.