Pickleball might have a goofy name. But it might be the fastest-growing sport in America, and it has particular appeal to people over 50.
It’s a lot like tennis, but on a smaller court, with smaller rackets and a plastic whiffle ball. One survey says more than 3 million people were playing in 2017, and the number has been growing by 10 percent a year for a decade.The National Senior Games had a packed competition this year in Albuquerque. Competitive “pickler” Dick Johnson of Idaho said the game was a nice transition after playing tennis for so many years. He enjoys playing with his wife, children, and grandchildren.
“I love the personal challenge playing pickleball gives me,” he said. “It keeps me motivated and helps me improve my skills.”
And older people are drawn to it because it’s more manageable than, say, tennis or other games played on a bigger surface. But it still gives a good workout without a high risk of injury. And it provides a social outlet. Plus, pickleball is easy to learn. And there are plenty of places to play. You can find one by going to the U.S.A. Pickleball website and entering your zip code.
The biggest draw for many older people is this: Pickleball is fun. And that’s nothing to make light of, goofy name or not. Just a fifth of adults get even the minimum amount of physical activity a week. And it’s been proven countless times that people stick with physical activity if it’s enjoyable.