A New Concept in Independent Living

Why Pickleball is Gaining a Huge Following

A sport for all ages and ability

Pickleball. With nearly 8,500 locations on USA Pickleball’s Places2Play map, this increasingly popular sport is practically a household name by now. Pick-up games and well-organized leagues are popping up nationwide, and if you do a quick search on Google or your favorite social media, we bet you’ll find one in your area. The game is popular among all ages, but it’s particularly picked up steam with older adults. Why? What is it about this mash-up of other racket sports that’s so appealing to players over 55? According to MUSC Health, the answer lies in the game itself.

What exactly is pickleball?

Despite its name, pickleball has nothing to do with dill chips. The USA Pickleball Association’s official website explains that the game was invented in Washington State in the summer of 1965 when the Pritchard and Bell families found themselves with nothing to do and a hodgepodge of sporting equipment at their disposal. What started as an improvised game with an old badminton court, some ping-pong paddles, and a Wiffle ball eventually became pickleball as we know it.

Today the game is still played on a badminton-size court, but now it has its own unique paddles and perforated balls. You can compete in singles, doubles, or mixed doubles matches. Games are played until one team reaches 11 points and has a two-point lead over their opponent.

Why is pickleball so popular among older adults?

It’s actually a lot simpler than it sounds. The key to pickleball’s popularity is its selective use of “other racket” games. 

At 20 by 44 feet, pickleball courts are nearly half the size of regulation tennis courts, making it much easier to keep the ball in play. Even though rallies might be longer, the amount of movement needed to reach the ball is greatly reduced, especially if you’re playing a doubles match. With less overall movement, there’s less stress on the joints and your cardiovascular system. 

The perforated ball is also a key player. Because the ball is soft and light, it doesn’t move very fast. Slower movement from the ball means more time to react. There is even a seven-foot no-volley zone on each side of the net (known as “the kitchen”) to prevent spiking. This overall reduced speed makes it easier for people with slower reflexes to still play competitively.

What about the paddle? Its design is also a factor. Unlike netted tennis and badminton rackets, it’s a solid paddle, which allows players to volley the ball with minimal stress on their hands and arms.

So between the badminton court, perforated ball, and ping-pong-inspired paddles, pickleball is perfectly designed for low-impact gameplay. It’s almost like it was made specifically with older adults in mind. There are even a special set of rules for wheelchair players, making it extremely accessible.

What does it take to get started with pickleball?

Aside from a court, ball, and paddles, Pickle-Ball, Inc. recommends a good pair of shoes. “Your shoes should have non-marking soles, provide stability for side-to-side movement, and have a flat, durable sole.” But perhaps most importantly, professional pickleball player Glen Peterson says that one of the best ways to improve your pickleball game is to simply smile.

Want a pickleball court in your own backyard? Prime West Knoxville has you covered. Give us a call at (865) 276-8163 or schedule a tour today.

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May 17


1932 Falling Waters Road
Knoxville, TN 37922


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