SPORTS OPINION | Everyone should get hooked on pickleball

I love being outside, especially during the warm days. The sunshine mixed with a light breeze means it’s a great day to do something active. However, you aren’t going to find me running along the river or hiking a 14er. Instead, you might find me at the community pickleball courts.

If you want to learn a new sport and have fun while playing it, choose pickleball. Pickleball is an emerging sport getting an increase in media coverage and having more courts built as Denver alone announced another 13 courts will be added.

If you like tennis or badminton, then pickleball is the right sport for you with the game being fast-paced and incorporating rules and strategies from both sports

I started playing pickleball in summer of 2023 just to be active and have something fun to do. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it, and I didn’t want to go at first. As soon as my friends and I started playing and figured out the rules, it was a lot of fun and it got more competitive.

One of the best parts of playing pickleball is that you can control how competitive you want the game to be. Of course I want to win, but I am also there to have fun. You also aren’t on a time limit; I have played pickleball games that lasted 30 minutes and up to two hours.

I appreciate that this sport keeps me active in an enjoyable way. Focusing on your wellbeing is great, and it’s important to improve your fitness to stay healthy. Playing pickleball allows me to be active without having to feel like I’m working for it.

Some days, I lack the motivation to get outside and do something good for myself, but I am always ready to go when asked to play pickleball.

Sherri Gordon, a writer for health, acknowledged the benefits of pickleball in a recent article, saying “not only is it a fun and social game, but it also provides a host of health benefits. In fact, playing pickleball could help you burn calories, improve blood pressure, enhance heart health and lower your cholesterol. Other potential benefits include improved flexibility, mental health and cognitive skills.”

As someone who has struggled with mental health, it’s important to find activities that boost my mood quickly and allow me to focus on something positive to get rid of my negative thoughts. Getting on the court and playing positively changes my focus and brings my competitive edge out in a good way.

Most communities have a place where you can rent paddles and pickleball, or you can get your own at most sports stores. The rules are simple and easy to learn, plus USA Pickleball lays out the rules clearly and concisely describes each section of the game in depth.

I am excited to continue watching it pickleball grow in popularity and catch the interest of younger athletes. Pickleball is for any age, and it brings communities together. In my hometown, our county has summer pickleball leagues that compete at the Buena Vista courts. You don’t have to bin a league to play, but it’s amazing watching all the teams get together and have fun.

Summer is approaching, so it’s the perfect time to try pickleball. Who knows? You might get hooked on it, too!

Photo courtesy of Achieve Sports.