Pickleball is more than just a peculiar name, it’s a sport that’s taking over Australia! Launched in 2020, Pickleball Australia now has over 10,000 members (as of March 2024), 153 clubs nationally and 52 tournaments nationally. To show you how much this has grown, at the beginning of 2023 there were 4,000 members.

 

What is pickleball?

It is a paddle and ball sport, played on a court like a smaller tennis court, with a lower net. Game rules and equipment afford all skill levels, age groups, enjoyment, and success on the court.

 

Using a paddle, like an oversized table tennis racket, a plastic ‘wiffle’ ball, pickleball is played on a hard surface indoors or outdoors and is a combination of easy learned moves and tactical shots. The game encourages an inclusive play environment as it caters for all ages, genders and abilities.

 

It is a fun and challenging game, with a combination of long rallies and a blend of soft and rapid-fire shots. The players must earn their points not purely by athleticism, power and speed, but also through the use of positioning, patience, tactics and touch.

 

The game can be played in singles or doubles, with the objectives like tennis – to score points by serving the ball, but so the opponent cannot return it before it bounces twice.

The serving and scoring system is unique, and the term ‘dinking’ probably doesn’t mean much outside the context of pickleball. Explaining these intricacies is essential for anyone taking their first steps onto the court.

 

Players are embracing this sport at such a rapid rate, due to its sense of community, social connection, mental well-being, and physical benefits.

The biggest clubs in Australia are based in Queensland and New South Wales – and although the Australian membership is a fraction of that in USA and Canada, Australia still has more members than England.

 

Origins of pickleball

In 1965, Washington, USA, three dads were trying to entertain their children. Unable to get badminton sets, they improvised using table tennis rackets and a perforated plastic ball instead. The name ‘pickleball’ is thought to have come from the family dog Pickles, who would chase after the stray balls.

 

Full body workout

Pickleball is not just fun—it’s a fantastic workout. Fitness enthusiasts are flocking to the game because it offers diverse benefits in a social, low-impact setting. For retirees, it’s a gentle way to keep muscles and reflexes sharp.

The game provides a full-body workout that improves cardiovascular health, strength, agility, and balance. It’s also a workout for the brain, with strategic thinking, hand-eye coordination, and social engagement.

 

The pickleball revolution is real, and it’s a testament to the power of sport to bring people together. Whether you’re a retiree looking for a new pastime or a fitness enthusiast seeking a fun, challenging workout, pickleball might just be the game for you. Join the legions of players who have discovered the joy of this quirky sport and get in on the fun!

 

Visit the Pickleball Australia website for more information and a list of the clubs in each state / region.

 

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