ParkTalk Podcast: Second Serve: Pickleball Five Years Later

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Episode Description:

In 2019, a ParkTalk Podcast series covered pickleball's popularity and health benefits. Five years later, we reexamine the sport and explore the growth in the last half decade and how the culture around pickleball can continue to change.

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Quotes from the Episode:

What are contributing factors to pickleball’s growth in the last five years?

Accessibility is one of them. Here in Naperville since 2019, we’ve built several new, permanent pickleball facilities. Another factor is the fact that everyone can play. We see a lot of families go out and use the facilities and you’ll see various ages playing together, and you don’t have to play it for a long time to be competitive. - Brock  

Has there been an increase in demand for indoor pickleball?

Absolutely. We opened our doors at Fort Hill about eight years ago. We started offering pickleball open gym right when we opened, so we were the only facility in town that had any sort of indoor pickleball. It wasn’t crazy when it first started, but after a year or two pickleball really blew up. We’re really grateful that the Park District has been so proactive in building all these outdoor courts since then because we truly can’t accommodate everyone that we want to indoors. ­- Kristina

How do you see pickleball growing and changing into the future?

I can see this becoming a high school sport in the very near future. In the beginning, pickleball seemed to be for older adults and now it’s skewing younger. We’re seeing a lot of play amongst the middle school and high school kids, and even younger than that. The sky’s the limit. – Brock

In general, people are looking for more opportunities to play. Pickleball is something that is very accessible. Our job is to provide that foundation on the recreation side of things and give people a good start in the sport. – Kristina