What is America's fastest growing sport? If you thought anything other than pickleball, you'd be wrong. Roughly 36 million Americans have attempted playing pickleball in the past year. This sport has grown so much in such a short time that the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) has called it "highly contagious." We’re searching for adaptive pickleball pioneers along the Grand Strand to join the craze!
Just like USAPA stated, pickleball is so contagious that even the North Myrtle Beach City Council has caught the bug. The city has made huge financial contributions to the sport in recent times and we're excited to tell you all about it. But first things first, how is pickleball played?
Pickleball was born one Summer Saturday in 1965 when Washington State congressman, Joel Pritchard, and business mogul Bill Bell grew bored during a gathering at the politician's home in Seattle. They decided to play badminton but couldn't find the full racket set. So, they improvised with ping-pong paddles and a perforated plastic ball. The game has evolved from then to become the modern pickleball sport with its own rules and specialized equipment.
Pickleball, often played by two or four athletes (called picklers), combines elements of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton. The size of a pickleball court is somewhere between that of the tennis and badminton courts and is divided into the net and service box sections.
The game starts with one side serving the pickleball to the opponent diagonally. Picklers score points by serving the ball over the net without letting it exceed the court's boundaries. Only the serving team can score points and the game typically continues until a team scores 11 points and leads by a minimum of two points.
One important rule to note is the "double bounce." The double bounce rule stipulates that the receiving team can only return the ball after the serve bounces once.
North Myrtle Beach's Financial Investments in Pickleball
It's a good time for pickleball lovers near North Myrtle Beach, SC, as the city has announced its commitment to investing more than half a million dollars in new outdoor courts. In the words of Ken Chaney, the NMB Pickleball Association's fundraising committee chairman, "the average player probably spends $1,000, so if we can get one thousand people playing throughout the year, we will add a million dollars to the local economy."
More than just being an interesting sport, pickleball is fast becoming a tourist attraction too. According to North Myrtle Beach's former Parks and Recreation Director, John Bullard, "people are planning their vacations now according to where the pickleball courts are." Since, the city's economy thrives on tourism, the decision to invest in the sport will be highly financially rewarding in the long term.
The plan is to build at least eight new pickleball courts to reduce the strain on the available ones that are always full. North Myrtle Beach also plans to host between 3 to 5 pickleball tournaments annually. Since pickleball has become very popular, the goal is to ensure that the courts are able to fund themselves.
Work on the new facilities is expected to commence next year and the courts will be constructed across the street from the J. Bryan Floyd Community Center. The courts will be state-of-the-art with lights and windscreens outside the fences.
Why is Pickleball So Popular?
Everyday, hundreds of people storm the J. Bryan Floyd Community Center in North Myrtle Beach to play pickleball. Here's why this sport become so popular in the city:
Pickleball is for Everyone
Pickleball is everyone's favorite sport because it loves everyone right back! Regardless of skill levels, abilities, age, etc., anyone can play pickleball. In fact, adaptive pickleball trailblazers like Twila Adams are practicing, traveling, competing, and encouraging others to join in the pickleball movement.
It's an Amazing Way To Socialize
Playing pickleball is one of the best ways to bond with others over sports. Since pickleball requires a significantly smaller court than a table tennis court, picklers are always in close proximity during game plays. This means that they can have conversations and catch up with each other while also keeping fit and having fun. What could be more amazing?
Pickleball Comes with Numerous Health Benefits
Like every other sporting activity, pickleball offers participants numerous health benefits. From improving hand-eye coordination to increased flexibility, pickleball is one of the best ways to improve your physical wellbeing. However, more than just that, studies have shown that the racquet sport also offers a wide range of mental health benefits.
In an article published in the National Library of Medicine journal, pickleball was said to have significantly improved the personal wellbeing and life satisfaction among a population of over 50-year-olds. Individuals who played pickleball were said to be happier and less depressed than those who didn't.
Parks and Recreation Departments Embrace Pickleball
As a sport that encourages community engagement, pickleball has become an important recreation activity for many parks and recreation departments. It's a family-friendly but competitive sport that will give any recreational program an instant boost.
Want To Join in the Pickleball Fun?
Are you living with a disability and interested in a sport that you can play at your convenience? Do you want to adopt a more active lifestyle? Pickleball is the perfect sport for you, and with more pickleball courts coming to North Myrtle Beach you have an extraordinary opportunity to help us ensure those courts are adaptive pickleball ready!
At Coastal Adaptive Sports, we're dedicated to assisting individuals with disabilities and their families access sports facilities and recreational activities to enhance their quality of life. Contact Coastal Adaptive today to learn more about how we can collaborate for more inclusive community facilities for like-minded athletes. We're looking forward to hearing from you!