Pickleball 101: Everything You Need to Know About This Fast-Growing Sport

pickleball courts Cathedral Oaks Athletic Center

There are countless ways to get a little exercise into your daily routine. Some people prefer a good sweat session inside the gym, while others prefer to hit the courts. One sport picking up steam is pickleball, the fastest-growing recreational sport in America.  

Pickleball is the sport of the season because of its outstanding fitness benefits. Plus, it’s easy for people of all ages and sports backgrounds to play! 

Pickleball 101: The Basics

Pickleball was the brainchild of Washington State Congressman Joel Pritchard, Businessman Bill Bell, and their friend Barney McCallum in 1965 when a lazy afternoon and a mismatch of sports equipment forced the men to improvise a game. The sport didn’t pick up steam until the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) was formed in 2005. 

In 2019, the Sports Fitness Industry Association labeled pickleball as the fastest growing sport in the US (gaining over 3.3 million players since its birth), cementing the game’s place in history. 

The game is played on a badminton-style court with a three-foot-high net. The court is separated into 3rds on each side, with a “Non-Volley Zone” closest to the net (also called The Kitchen) and two “sides” along the back. 

Game rules are pretty simple. You can play in singles or doubles (two players or four), and most games consist of three matches played to eleven points. 

During each set, the teams hit the ball back and forth over the net until the ball either hits the net, goes out of bounds, or bounces twice before being returned. Points are awarded to the serving team if they made the last successful hit.

(For a complete list of rules and terms, you can check out the USA Pickleball website.)

The Benefits of Pickleball 

There are many reasons why people of all ages enjoy pickleball.

The game has an easy learning curve because its rules are based on well-recognized sports, including tennis and racquetball. It’s also easier to pick up because the equipment is more intuitive and easy to handle than other racquet sports like Badminton. This makes the game easy for the whole family to play. 

Pickleball also has plenty of physical benefits. For starters, the game offers excellent, scalable cardiovascular training. Players can choose to get competitive and up the game’s intensity or scale back and hit back and forth with ease. 

The sport is also a great way to improve muscle and tendon strength and flexibility. Slower-paced games will help you activate slow-twitch muscle groups in your legs, glutes, and arms for a steady burn. Faster-paced games can add additional benefits to your quick-twitch muscle groups and stabilizing tendons in the same areas as you run around the court and change directions rapidly.

Overall, the sport is an excellent option for people of all ages to improve their cardiovascular endurance and strengthen muscles and tendons. 

Come Play Pickleball at Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club 

Now that you know a little more about the game and its benefits, it’s time to try it out! 

So, the next time you’re looking for a fun game to play with friends, why not head over to Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club for a few rounds of pickleball? With some of Santa Barbara’s only pickleball courts available for members, there’s no better time to join and start experiencing the benefits of this exciting and beneficial sport today.