The number of people playing Pickleball – a sport that combines various elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis – is growing quickly across the UK. Invented in the US in the 1960s, Pickleball has grown to become a hugely popular game in North America and there is now even a professional league for it: Major League Pickleball.
The popularity is partly down to accessibility and flexibility. Pickleball can be played in singles or doubles and is suitable for both indoors and outdoors. Games take place on a badminton-size court using wooden paddles and a plastic ball with holes in it.
With an estimated 4,000 pickleball players in the UK, its popularity is expected to grow rapidly across the country. The latest UK facility operator to have introduced the sport is 1Life, which has added Pickleball to its range of activities at the Harpenden Leisure Centre in Hertfordshire.
According to Nick Boxer, the centre’s Senior General Manager, said the introduction of Pickleball is part of a strategy to tap into the latest trends and to widen the range of activities available for those who rely on public leisure facilities.
”At 1Life we’re redefining public access leisure provision,” Boxer says. “We appreciate everyone’s health and fitness journey is unique and we’re always on the lookout for new opportunities to appeal to a new audience and get more people invested in their health and wellbeing.
“Pickleball is considered by many to be easier to learn and play than tennis and badminton, making it a perfect addition to our already unrivalled facilities. We are also exploring further opportunities within pickleball, which could potentially see the launch of a competitive league.”