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Why Pickleball Is Becoming So Popular Among Retirees

1/7/2021 - Staff Writer - Racquets & Paddles


Invented by a trio of dads whose kids were bored one summer in the mid-1960s, pickleball quickly grew in popularity. Today in the United States, we are again seeing interest in the sport grow rapidly, particularly among retirees.

The game feels like a mix of table tennis (or ping pong), regular tennis, and badminton. It’s played on a court around the same size as a badminton court with a short net, large wooden or composite paddles, and a lightweight ball.Pickleball’s popularity with retirees could stem from a variety of factors.

1. It Is Physically Accessible

With a small court and a light ball, a player neither needs great strength to whack a ball across a far distance nor the agility to dash around to recover a returned serve. Pickleball provides older players with accessible exercise that is both competitive and enjoyable. Rather than strength and fitness, a great round of pickleball is about finesse and that satisfying pop when you hit the ball in the sweet spot.

2. It Is a Social Sport

When you’re no longer heading into the office every day, sometimes you need a reason to get out of the house. Pickleball provides an ideal outdoor activity that combines beneficial light exercise as well as social time. With the close proximity of the players on a pickleball court and only mild physical exertion that is unlikely to leave anyone breathless, it is quite easy to carry a casual conversation during a match.

3. They Grew Up with the Game

The same kids who pickleball was invented to entertain are probably enjoying life in their retirement years right about now. Invented 55 years ago, the sport grew up with the generation that is now reaching 65+ and ready for retirement. Just as they had time to run, laugh, and play around as children, retirees again have the time and freedom on their hands to really enjoy their time. As life comes full circle, it is likely that the game of pickleball brings back nostalgic memories of growing up and brings back those same feelings of enjoying a carefree life.

4. It's Easy to Pick Up

Even if they never did play a game in their life before retirement, pickleball is a relatively easy racket sport to pick up. It doesn’t take time to perfect a serve or learn how to add maximum power to a swing, the basic hand-eye coordination can often be picked up over the course of a day.

5. It Can Get Competitive

Finally, although a beginner can easily pick up the basics in an afternoon, years could be spent perfecting and fine-tuning pickleball skills. Many good players have put considerable time and effort to learn the nuances of hitting a light ball with a wooden paddle, perpetually chasing that perfect pop. With such subtle control being make-or-break for most games, it is no wonder that games can be close and highly competitive for many players.

One thing is for certain, pickleball is sure to be loved by retirees and racquet enthusiasts alike.


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