Pickleball Phenomenon

Zara Ducker , In-Depth Editor

Pickleball, a combination of tennis, ping-pong and badminton, is known for being a fun and easy sport to learn. While it is mostly thought to be popular among older generations, pickleball is a social sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and levels. 

Pickleball has become one of the most popular sports in the United States. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s (USAPA) report, pickleball is the fastest growing team sport in America with a 21.3% increase in pickleball participants from 2019 to 2020. 

“I think pickleball is a great group activity,” Athletic Director Becky Silberman said. “I know that there are the pickleball courts on Montrose and I always see like 50 people that are 60 and above waiting in line to play.”

Jonathan Gordon, parent of alumni Zachary (‘19) and Eli (‘22) and sophomore Gigi Gordon,  enjoys playing pickleball every Wednesday with his friends. He enjoys the opportunity to take a break from his busy schedule to see his friends while still being able to workout. 

“I love playing pickleball because it’s great excercise and is a reason to be with my friends,” Gordon said. “I enjoy the lots of time we get to share with each other while playing.”

Similar to tennis, pickleball received a lot of attention during the pandemic. People wanted to play a sport that was outside and permitted social distancing. 

“My grandpa and I started playing pickleball together during the pandemic because we could be socially distanced from each other, although I was actually really surprised by how much I liked playing,” freshman Leo Steindecker said.

The sport is played on a small court and depending on the intensity of the game does not require that much physical activity or running, which makes it easier and less dangerous for the older generations and people with injuries to play. This holds true for Steindecker, who was rehabbing an injury over the summer.

“I played a lot of pickleball this past summer at camp because I dislocated my knee and couldn’t participate in all the intense sports that my friends were playing,” Steindecker said. “Pickleball was a good sport to play because it still felt like a good workout and was fun to play although I wasn’t at risk of reinjuring myself.” 

Pickleball can typically be played on tennis courts and does not require a lot of space or equipment. 

“It’s super accessible, you don’t need to have an official court and you can kind of set up a net anywhere,” Silberman said. “I think it’s so popular because it caters to all ages. It’s a really good workout but on a small court, so little kids can figure it out but also people in the aging population, even if they had life-long lingering injuries, could still play pickleball.” 

Despite its growing popularity, Silberman does not believe that CESJDS will have an official pickelball team.

“I don’t see it necessarily becoming an interscholastic sport,” Silberman said. “Although, we have a new P.E. teacher who is also our tennis coach and he is definitely going to want to bring in pickleball. I think it’s something that is easy and that students would enjoy, so I would definitely like to implement it in our P.E. curriculum.”