With pickleball getting seemingly overhyped across America, many people ask, “why play pickleball?” and wonder if the sport is a passing fad.
As someone who spends a fair share of his time consuming pickleball-related content, one consistent theme is that people either love it or hate it. It’s ironic that such an innocent sport can be so polarizing, but this is just how it is in the 21st century. As with most things in this world, society loves to build things up and tear them down.
However, I advise you not to become a victim of the hype.
Pickleball is fantastic. And the best part is getting out there to play the game.
So while the pundits debate the credibility of pickleball as a sport (it is!), you would be best served to pick up a paddle and play. Here are a few benefits of playing pickleball.
Pickleball Is Real Exercise
There is no doubt that you burn calories when you move; therefore, there’s no question that you burn calories when you play pickleball. The intensity of games can vary based on whom you are playing with. There have been occasions where I have barely broken a sweat and others where I have sweat through two outfits over the course of two hours.
Will you get the same workout as if you went for a run or played competitive tennis? No! However, that doesn’t mean it is not exercising; it is just a different kind of exercise. Since I started playing in March, I have felt the sport improve my cardio. But if I’m being honest, it has yet to do much for my gut or overall muscle tone.
Even though pickleball might not provide the same intensity as other sports, it offers an enjoyable way to get in some physical activity and have fun with friends. Pickleball vs. tennis is such a silly argument.
Pickleball Helps You Meet Awesome People
You often hear that pickleball is a social sport, and I can attest that this is true. If you play in leagues or open plays as I tend to do, you meet a revolving door of interesting people. Of course, like in any crowd, you have extroverts and introverts, over-talkers and stoic beings; however, I tend to like the types of people who appreciate pickleball as a recreational activity.
And because of its intergenerational popularity, the conversations are often varied and textured. Simply put, I get to speak with people I might not get to meet otherwise. Also, while pickleball might not be the most diverse sport at the moment, I can tell you that I have played with all types of people from a multitude of backgrounds. But hey, I’m in New York, and your mileage may vary.
Pickleball = Zeitgeist
Playing pickleball has made me part of the NOW. Understanding and promoting the sport has become a big part of my identity. I have quickly become the “guy who plays pickleball.” People ask me questions about the sport, and I love educating people authentically and honestly. While the sport is growing at record speeds, a massive swath of the population has still not played–though they each have varying degrees of curiosity. Sure, there are detractors, but there’s no denying that pickleball could theoretically be Time’s Person of the Year.
Pickleball Helps Me Stay Balanced and Reduces Stress
It’s no secret that physical activity does wonders for your mood, and playing pickleball is a wonderful way to stay balanced. Aside from sweating out toxins, some studies indicate that exercise can also help improve your mental health. And while I appreciate data, I don’t need numbers to tell me how to feel; I KNOW I feel better when I’m on the move–motion is the lotion. As a certified mindfulness instructor, I will sometimes take a Zen approach to pickleball; the less I think, the more I can move and flow with the game. In these moments, my spirit soars, and I truly experience happiness on the court.
I Am a Proud Pickleball Consumer
Don’t judge me, but while writing this post, I came to the realization that I not only love the sport of pickleball but the accessories that come along with it, too! Not that I needed an excuse to buy more gear: paddles, sneakers, bags, etc. But immersing yourself in something fresh and new can be fun. Retail therapy! The hobby has also made it easier for people to buy me gifts. When in doubt, buy Drew something pickleball-related.
It Is Easy to Start Playing Pickleball
The alluring simplicity of pickleball is one of its most attractive qualities. Within 30 minutes, beginners can be partaking in adrenaline-pumping rallies back and forth across the net. The large sweet spot on the paddles makes a connection with the ball quite easy to achieve, even with little practice. Another perk is that since the court dimensions are less than half of a tennis court, you do not need to be a stellar athlete to play successfully. And the fact that equipment can be relatively inexpensive means that getting started doesn’t take a huge commitment.
Pickleball Connects Families
I mentioned that I love playing pickleball since the sport crosses generations. But it also allows me to play competitively with my son. Despite a 30+ year age gap, we can have fun rallies and games. It used only to be Monopoly and Madden football that we would battle over; it’s great to have a physical sport where we can legitimately compete. He’s not beating me yet, but I look forward to the day he kicks my ass. OK, not really. 🙂
Play Pickleball (Almost) Anywhere
Pickleball can be played just about anywhere so long as you have a large enough, flat surface on which to play. You don’t even need a pre-made court – if you’ve got some chalk and two chairs (for the net), you can make your own right at home in your backyard or even on your dead-end street. All you need once you’ve made your court is a ball and paddles, and then you’re ready to go! Portable pickleball nets are relatively inexpensive and can be set up in mere minutes.
Pickleball Belongs to Me
Pickleball gives me a reason to get out of the house and do something independently. While I love that my son is learning how to play the game, and I encourage my wife to join on occasion, I like having a destination and a hobby that is all my own. And the fact that I can create a blog such as this, and lean into my entrepreneurial spirit, makes it a win-win.
Pickleball Keeps My Brain Sharp
Once you move past the bangers and the hot shots, pickleball is a game that requires strategy. I won’t go as far as to say it is the chess of the court world. However, you need to be thoughtful with each shot. I like that the game forces me to adjust on the fly, yet plan out different strategies versus different opponents. Since each shot should be struck with intention, pickleball grounds me in the present moment.
Pickleball Prepares Me for the Future
As you read this post, you are getting older. We all are. Eventually, our bodies will no longer keep up with the sports that we love. So why not embrace a sport that could be waiting for you in the later chapters of life? I might have a couple of decades before retirement is a reality, but when I arrive, I want to be ready to own the court.
There are many more reasons as to why play pickleball, but these are mine, and I stand behind each one! If I can help get you on the court in any way, please leave a comment or shoot me a message.