Pickleball, the sport with the funny name, is growing by fantastic rates. According to Sports, Fitness & Leisure Activities Topline Participation Report from USA Pickleball, over 4.8 million American picked up a pickleball racquet last year and despite the pandemic, the sport has grown 39.3% over the last two years. There are two major reason that the sport has seen the huge growth in participation. The first reason can be traced to the ease of learning. In today’s world people don’t want to spend a lot of time learning a new sport. The basics of pickleball can be learned quickly. The second reason pickleball has enjoyed such growth is the social nature of the sport. With it’s more relaxed pace, game play almost feels like it’s a community, with experienced players and newbies playing games together. The pickleball group at Duck Woods personifies this aspect of the game. After games they hang out afterwards, having lunch together or sharing a beer or glass of wine or gladly showing a newbie the basics of the game.

While many people think of pickleball as a miniture form of doubles tennis, it’s really a game unto itself. It’s played with a whiffle ball on courts, one-forth the size of a tennis court. The two-bounce rule and the no volley zone unique to this game are one of the reasons many age groups can play together. The fences are lower, there is less sprinting involved, and your physically closer to both your teammate and your opponents, making it inherently a lower-impact sport that is big on on-court banter.

While the game originated in Washington state on Bainbridge Island, in the 1960’s, the explosive growth has only been recently. Washington State just recently made pickleball it’s official sport. While the pandemic negatively impacted many activities, it was actually a boon to pickleball participation as it offered social time on the court, an opportunity to get outside and much-needed exercise without the technical demands of golf or tennis.

As Duck Woods prepares for the construction of our own four court complex the temporary tennis courts continue to get used by many players every day. With daily scheduled open play, player initiated competition and new players trying the game, the growth of this sport at Duck Woods seems poised to follow the national trend. If you are interested in learning about this game, please join in the fun, the members of the PBA are fun, interesting and passionate about their love for the game… one can hear at the end of every game… ”anyone want to play one more game”?

Lynda Burek