By Leslie Golden | email@example.com
As the weather warms, perhaps you’ve found yourself looking for a new way to exercise. Pickleball may be the sport for you.
Pickleball is a paddle sport combining aspects of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. According to the Professional
Pickleball Association, which is the governing body of the sport, “pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle, Washington by three fathers whose children were bored with their usual summertime activities.”
A new report by the PPA estimates 36.5 million people played pickleball last year. That makes pickleball one of the most popular sports in the country by participation, nearly twice the size of tennis, and just shy of popular activities like running and cycling.
“Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America,” Brandon Mackie, co-founder of court data provider site Pickleheads, said. “The magic of pickleball is it’s easy to learn, but hard to master. Beginners can go out their first time, learn the game, have fun, and even win a few games. But advanced players stay challenged, and keep coming back for more. This dynamic is a big reason why pickleball continues to grow like crazy.”
Friends, family and even strangers are able to gather together in mixed numbers and levels to play the game.
“Pickleball is a social activity as much as it’s a sport. It’s commonly played in an open-play format where 50 or even more players show up and rotate games and partners. You also almost always play pickleball as doubles, which leaves many opportunities to socialize and meet players,” Mackie shared.
Some believe the sport grew in popularity because of the pandemic. Some residents in Alexandria constructed their own backyard courts as a way to stay active and safely socialize during lockdown. But the trend has segued into the mainstream.
According to Mackie, Alexandria is the second most popular city in Virginia in which to play the sport. There are currently 20 pickleball courts in Alexandria. Several public parks, like Eugene Simpson, have dedicated pickleball courts. For more information, visitalexandriava.gov/Play or pickleheads.com.