If you haven’t already heard of it then we’re sure it won’t be long and once you have, we’re certain you won’t forget it. The name of this sport alone makes ping pong or wiff waff sound relatively mundane and then you discover that “dinking” is a skilful tactic in the game. Without having ever picked up a padel, it’s already putting a smile on our faces! Having recently become converts to the joy that is padel tennis, we have a feeling we’re going to love this too.
It’s a cross between tennis, badminton and the aforementioned ping pong and is reported to be the fastest growing sport in America. Hopefully, with a number of venues in the UK already joining the pickleball movement, we are going to see it spread to local community sports venues soon enough. In actual fact, we hope we might get the opportunity soon enough to design & build some indoor pickleball courts, maybe as part of a broader multi-use facility.
Played with hard padels, a little larger than a ping-pong bat, you can fit roughly four pickleball courts into one tennis court. With a lower net than tennis, it is said to be easier to learn that other racket sports and puts less stress on the body so is accessible to a broader age range. It can be played in singles or doubles and according to one Texan pickleballer, “It’s about connection, joy and play – and the importance of play in a world where exhaustion and workaholism are status symbols.”
At a time when we are starting to enjoy the freedom of coming together again and being sociable without disruption, it strikes us that pickleball could be just what we all need to spread some joy and sports clubs should consider introducing it to enhance their membership programme as well as attract more people. One venue could accommodate several pickleball courts, therefore allowing lots of people to participate at the same time, which would help boost ROI in the long-term.
Sport England has recently launched their campaign, Uniting The Movement, which aims to improve lives and communities through sport and physical activity. They want to reconnect people and tackle inequalities by creating active environments that offer something for everyone. It sounds as though pickleball could be the ideal activity to help promote this campaign and multi-sport indoor facilities are the ideal environments. They enable clubs to provide a varied programme of activities throughout the year, for extended hours and that appeal to all ages and abilities.
Recently we have heard of a sports club in Harpenden introducing pickleball to it’s members, “We’re so pleased to offer yet another opportunity for the public to try a new activity here…and get people of all ages exercising. By adding yet another sport to our facilities, we believe even more people will start to invest in a healthier, more active lifestyle.” It’s a good move for helping reach their business growth objectives and we anticipate pickleball being part of the conversation in many of our planning/design stages for new sports facility projects.
There are an estimated 4,000 people playing the sport across England and Wales at the moment but that number is expected to grow rapidly and we are more than ready to get on board.