When people talk about the growth of pickleball, they typically say things like “pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America”, or “it’s really catching on with people these days and has huge benefits.” And although those things are true, I’d prefer to use more colorful terms. The growth of pickleball is like a screaming snowball flailing its arms while it’s barreling down a mountainside.
In other words, it’s unstoppable. And the benefits of playing are just as good. Minus the flailing arms, of course.
But the big question remains, what can pickleball actually give you in real terms? That’s what I’m going to talk about today. Once you’re done with this article, you will have a clear idea in your head what the benefits of pickleball are and hopefully, you’ll feel motivated enough to get out onto the courts. Let’s get started!
You get to feel competitive again
Were you competitive, athletic or driven in your late teens or early twenties? Do you wish that you could be like that again? So many sports that we play have strict requirements when it comes to physical ability and athleticism. And although it certainly helps to be athletic for pickleball, it’s not an uncrossable threshold.
If you love the spirit of competition, then pickleball is going to be a great sport for you because you don’t have to be in your prime to play the sport well. In fact, plenty of seniors in the pickleball world can beat young 20-year-olds any day of the week. That’s just how pickleball works.
You may be looking to get into the sport, but you’re not quite sure if your body is up for it. I understand. But as long as you play it safe, you’ll be fine! Pickleball is going to be a great sport for you to get into no matter where you are athletically.
Offers the level of exercise that you desire
Pickleball is one of the best sports to get into if you’ve been out of college for a few years. It’s extremely active and very frantic. If you love the combination of finesse and speed, then you will love pickleball.
It’s also one of the best sports to get into after college or a few years after graduating. The reason is that pickleball isn’t that expensive and it’s as time-consuming as you allow it to be.
But here’s the unique part of pickleball that tends to be hidden from view. Pickleball can be as strenuous as you want it to be.
Obviously, you can play as much pickleball as you want every week. But if you want to get a really good workout you can play singles instead of doubles. Singles is significantly more strenuous.
If you’re not familiar with pickleball, there is a section of the court close to the net called the non-volley zone. It has a more common colloquial term called “the kitchen”. In proper pickleball play, you have to stand outside this zone, but you have to get there first. Well, to get there you can either run up there or just walk. It’s your choice. It’s better to run, but it’s not your only option.
This level of physical flexibility is great for people who need a specific level of exercise every week, but don’t want to ruin their bodies at the same time.
Pickleball is inexpensive to keep up with
I used to play golf before I started pickleball. One of the things I didn’t like about golf is how expensive it was. Not only are the startup costs high, but the upkeep costs are too especially as you play often.
But pickleball is different. You can get a strong start in pickleball for around $300. Alternatively, assuming you have a decent pair of court or tennis shoes, you can get started for around $60. For $300, you can get yourself the best paddle and the best pair of court or tennis shoes. For $200 you can get yourself a great pair of shoes and a decent paddle.
Pro tip: make sure you get only court or tennis shoes. Do not wear running shoes!
That’s it for startup costs! The only things left are court fees.
And they’re tiny!
I play at a tennis center near me in Plano, TX and the courts only cost $4 and we get to play for 3-4 hours. Also, public rec centers are starting to offer pickleball around the country. The fees will vary depending on where you play, but sometimes it’s free and other times it’s a few bucks.
This is such an amazing benefit of playing pickleball. The upkeep costs of the sport are so minimal that you can affordably keep the hobby going all year round.
Don’t get me wrong, you can spend plenty of money on this game if you want to. But it’s not required!
If you need any help getting the right kind of gear for your new pickleball journey, please go to my recommended gear page to get started.
It offers a great social experience
As I talked about with Dusty Stephenson on one of my podcast episodes, tennis and pickleball are very, very different. They are especially different when it comes to the cultural and social aspects.
Pickleball is extraordinarily social. I’m not saying that tennis isn’t social or anything. It obviously is. But pickleball is social on a different level.
Pickleball was invented on a summer vacation island in Seattle. During its development, the game was just used as a way to entertain people in the neighborhood. Well, not much about that has changed. Pickleball feels like a sport where people pull out the lawn chairs, the BBQ and the cooler to sit and watch one of the most entertaining sports around.
But it’s not just the spectacle of the sport that’s beneficial. It’s the experience for the player.
Playing on a pickleball court is a cozy endeavor. The court is half the size of a tennis court after all. Not only that, but you typically play pickleball in a doubles setting. So basically, you’re cramming four people who love the sport in a 44-foot area. Do you think there’s going to be some banter, quips, and bouts of laughter while playing your favorite sport?
And that’s what makes pickleball so special.
The social aspect of pickleball is undeniable. I have made more new friends through pickleball than any other activity I’ve done in my life. It’s amazing. We even have pickleball Christmas parties. Yes, you heard that right. And yes, we use pickleballs for wreath decorations.
If you want to make some new friends and have a blast while doing so, pickleball is for you. And who knows, maybe you’ll meet the spouse of your dreams while you’re at it.
Gives you another goal to strive for
We, humans, love accomplishment. Whenever we accomplish something, either large or small, our brains release the “feel good” chemical called dopamine. This ensures that we will go back and do more of the thing that we accomplished. It’s not a foolproof method as sometimes dopamine release can get out of control like in the case of addiction, but it’s pretty effective when it comes to pickleball.
Playing pickleball consistently gives you this slow and steady drip of “feel good” chemicals. It’s basically like getting runner’s high. You’ve probably heard people say that pickleball is “addicting”. It’s not actually addicting, it’s just the dopamine. But it really does feel good.
However, it’s not necessarily the playing itself that feels so good, but the process or the journey behind it all.
It feels so good to improve in something. Especially when it’s improvement in something that you love. And when we’re striving for something, even if it’s just a game, it makes us feel great about ourselves and our future.
There’s a reason why people love stories so much. For millennia, stories have been passed down from generation to generation about heroes and their nobles deeds of valor and sacrifice. And although you won’t be fighting very many dragons on the court (if you do please send video), battling it out on the pickleball court has the same effect. It’s called “the hero’s journey”.
Starting up your pickleball hobby can be your hero’s journey. So are you ready to begin? Check out my getting started resource and prepare for launch!
You can be a part of something
You’ve already heard this by now, but pickleball is spreading like wildfire. But within that wildfire are patches of greenery that hide pearls yet to be touched. And believe me, there’s plenty of patches out there.
That’s how I started this website after all. When I first started playing, I thought it would be a cool idea to just document how my beginner experience was going. It was just for fun that perhaps some of my friends could find useful.
I never imagined that I would be attracting you, dear reader, to read what I have to say about this amazing sport. But it was an opportunity. And I took it.
That’s what a new phenomenon brings in its wake: opportunity.
You can use your own skill sets and talents to be a beneficial member of the pickleball community. Or perhaps you could volunteer for tournaments or social events. There are so many different things you can do in the pickleball world besides just playing.
I know plenty of people who started playing a year ago and now they’re traveling around the country playing in tournaments or they’re planning and running tournaments themselves. There are loads of opportunities in this sport, and you can seize them if you have the drive and the tenacity.
It’s easy to get started
Pickleball follows the same design principle of triple-A video game studios. The principle is this:
Easy to learn; difficult to master.
Most fun games that you’ve played throughout your life follow this rule. The benefits of this model can’t be overstated. If you’re thinking about starting up pickleball, you won’t have to train for months on end in order to get some success. I guarantee you that your first time out on the courts will be successful for you.
That’s just how pickleball is. It’s an easy game to get started in because the concepts and rules are very simple. However, pickleball has an enormous amount of strategic depth to it that can’t be seen at first. As you become more experienced in pickleball, these depths will begin to come into view.
However, as a beginner, you don’t have to worry about any of that. You don’t have to know the ins and outs of advanced pickleball strategy. All you have to do is follow the basic rules of the game, get the ball over the net and of course, to have fun!
Pickleball is insanely fun
It’s hard to explain how fun pickleball. Honestly, it’s kind of ludicrous.
If you’re thinking about playing pickleball, then you’re probably wondering what it’s like. Pickleball is fast, sporadic, frantic and fierce. But it’s also slow, deliberate, patient and filled with finesse. The game almost feels like you’re inside some epic highway chase scene in a movie. You’re trying to carefully weave yourself through the traffic, but you’re speeding along frantically at the same time.
That’s what its like to play pickleball. You’ll have moments when things are going so fast that you can hardly keep up. But then you’ll have other moments where everyone is hitting soft shots over the net that amp up the intensity of the game.
This is especially the case when you’re on the 30th or 40th shot of the rally. I’ve never had as much adrenaline coursing through my veins as I’ve had while playing pickleball. It’s crazy.
But like I said earlier, you don’t have to train countless hours and empty out your wallet in order to get to this point. If you have basic hand-eye coordination, you can start having these kinds of experiences very early on. And believe me, it’ll keep you hooked for a long time.
Personally, pickleball is the most fun thing I’ve ever had. And what’s even more exciting is that I can play for decades and decades to come.
Are you pumped up yet? I hope so. My goal is to convince you that pickleball is going to be a great sport for you. So don’t be shy! Get out there and try it out for yourself!
If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below.