Blog/ Industry Trends

Pickleball: The New Sport Taking Attractions Venues by Storm

Pickleball: The New Sport Taking Attractions Venues by Storm

In recent years, pickleball has emerged as one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, capturing the hearts of players, young and old. With its blend of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong elements, pickleball offers a unique and exciting experience that appeals to people of all skill levels. 

In this blog, we'll delve into the origins of pickleball, and its benefits, explore why it's trending, and discover how your venue can capitalize on its popularity to create fun-filled and engaging guest experiences.

What is pickleball?

Pickleball is a unique paddle sport that combines elements of other sports, such as tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It is played on a smaller court with a lower net, and players use solid paddles to hit a perforated polymer ball over the net. Pickleball is a game that emphasizes strategy, agility, and hand-eye coordination, making it accessible and enjoyable for both beginners and experienced athletes.

Pickleball has specific rules that players must follow. Players usually play the game in singles or doubles matches, and each side of the court is divided into two service areas and a non-volley zone. At the start of each rally, the serving team must hit the ball diagonally over the net into the opposite service area without landing in the non-volley zone. The receiving team must hit the ball back over the net, and the rally continues until one team fails to return the ball or hits it out of bounds.

One unique feature of Pickleball is the "double bounce rule," which means that each team must let the ball bounce once on their side of the court before hitting it back over the net. A player can only volley (hit before it bounces) the ball after it has bounced once on each side if they are outside the non-volley zone. 

Pickleball follows a "fault" system, where a point is awarded to the opposing team if a player violates a rule, such as stepping into the non-volley zone or hitting the ball out of bounds.

The game is played to 11 points, with each match being the best two out of three. If you need to play game three, it is played to five points.

Why is pickleball trending?

Pickleball's rapid rise in popularity can be attributed to several factors:

It’s an inclusive sport

Pickleball is a great option for people of various fitness levels and ages, as it is a low-impact sport that is gentle on the joints. Unlike many racket sports, pickleball has a less steep learning curve, even for beginners. This is because the ball used in pickleball is a plastic wiffle-like ball, which is less bouncy and doesn't move as fast through the air. Additionally, the paddle used in pickleball is shorter and lighter than a tennis racket, making it much easier to handle. Furthermore, serving in pickleball is done underhand, which is easier to hit and return than overhand serves in other racket sports.

Aside from being easier to learn than tennis, pickleball is also slower-paced and requires less ground to cover. Almost four pickleball courts could fit onto one tennis court. Furthermore, most players play doubles, making the game more enjoyable and social. 

Pickleball also appeals to all demographics, and courts can be set up in various locations, from community centers and parks to attraction venues, making it easily accessible to a broad audience.

It’s good for your health

Pickleball may be relatively low-intensity, but it is actually great exercise. 

Playing doubles pickleball for half an hour can increase heart rate by 14 percent and burn 36 percent more calories than walking. Further studies revealed that playing pickleball can be considered a moderate-intensity workout, with an average heart rate of 109 beats per minute and burning 354 calories per hour

Additionally, playing pickleball for an hour every other day for six weeks can improve cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and cardiovascular fitness.

It’s great for hand-eye, neuromuscular coordination, and agility

Pickleball is an excellent sport for improving hand-eye and neuromuscular coordination due to the small size of the paddle. Plus, the game involves movement in different planes, which is beneficial for improving agility. 

Additionally, the rotation involved in playing pickleball works out the core and upper and lower extremities. And for those who prefer a more competitive workout, it is possible to ramp up the intensity in various ways.

Benefits of incorporating pickleball at your venue

Introducing pickleball at your attractions venue can bring numerous benefits:

Diversifying your offerings

There are over 4.8 million pickleball players in the United States alone, and the sport has grown nearly 40% between 2019 and 2021, making it America’s fastest-growing sport.

Pickleball is generally more popular among older individuals. According to the USA Pickleball Association, in 2021, half of the serious players (those who play eight or more times a year) were 55 or older. However, most casual players are under 55, and the number of players under 24 is rapidly increasing.

So adding pickleball diversifies your venue's offerings, attracting new audiences and extending guests' average time spent in-venue.

Boosting revenue

The recent buzz around pickleball can draw more guests to your attraction venue, especially those seeking entertainment beyond traditional activities.

As a result of the increased interest and guest numbers, you can generate additional revenue through court rentals, lessons, and tournament participation fees.

You can charge for the paddle, ball, and court hire separately or offer them as a package. 

Court hire is generally $10-$20 per hour.        

Enhancing the guest experience

Pickleball offers guests an engaging and memorable experience, as it is very inclusive and can be played in groups or families, so it fosters a friendly and fun atmosphere.

It is a great way to meet new people, make friends, and have fun while exercising. Pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors, making it a versatile activity that can be enjoyed year-round. Overall, it is a great way to stay active and have fun simultaneously, translating into a fantastic guest experience.

How to incorporate pickleball at your venue

As the popularity of pickleball continues to soar, attraction venues have a unique opportunity to tap into this trend and enhance their offerings. Here's how to incorporate pickleball into your venue:

Create dedicated pickleball courts

Designate specific areas for pickleball courts within your attraction's venue. Ensure the courts are correctly sized and marked, and provide high-quality paddles and balls for players.

The dimensions of a standard pickleball court are similar to those of a doubles badminton court, measuring approximately 44 feet in length (including lines) and 20 feet in width (including lines). The net height is 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches in the middle. Additionally, the court is marked with right and left service courts and a 7-foot non-volley zone in front of the net, commonly known as the kitchen. 

If you want to create your own pickleball court, you can either construct one specifically for this sport or convert an existing tennis or badminton court.

Pickleball courts are typically constructed from concrete or asphalt, similar to tennis courts. The surface is textured using round silica sand that is not abrasive to ensure a safe and non-slip playing experience.

Host tournaments and events

Organize pickleball tournaments or friendly matches, attracting players from the local community or tourists. 

Hosting special events can create a sense of excitement and draw more guests to your venue.

Consider advertising your membership program at these tournaments and events.

Offer pickleball lessons

Offer pickleball lessons for beginners or those looking to improve their skills. Hiring experienced instructors will enhance the learning experience for participants.

Encourage social leagues

Encourage visitors to join social pickleball leagues, providing a platform for players to connect, play regularly, and build a sense of camaraderie.

Offer family packages

Create family-friendly packages that include pickleball as an activity. This will entice families to spend quality time together, spend more time and money at your venue, and feel they are getting great value for their money.

Learn more about ROLLER’s package feature here.

Pickleball is on the rise

Pickleball's rise in popularity shows no signs of slowing down, making it an excellent addition to your attraction venue.

As you incorporate pickleball into your venue, emphasize inclusivity, provide top-notch facilities and equipment, and nurture a friendly and social atmosphere. 

By embracing this trending sport, your attraction venue can become a go-to destination for those seeking a thrilling and enjoyable pickleball experience.