What you need to know about the UK’s fastest-growing sport

Picklecore is the UK’s growing obsession with a specific sport: pickleball. Statistics from Sports England show that 27,000 people played the sport at least once last year across 270 venues, which is an increase in figures from 2022. 

Pickleball has grown in popularity for several reasons. Mark Petchey, Neilson Beach Clubs Racket Sports Ambassador, says: “Pickleball is a great participation sport perfect for friends and family looking for a more accessible game.”

Let’s look at what pickleball actually is and where you can find the sport and learn to play. 

What is pickleball?

Pickleball is best described as a mix of badminton, tennis and table tennis. Players use wooden paddles to hit a plastic ball over a net. The court is the same size as a badminton court, which means it can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors – perfect for the UK weather! This increasingly popular activity can be played as a single player or in pairs, meaning you can enjoy a game with friends. 

The rules are similar to tennis with a few crucial differences. For example, the ball must bounce once on each side of the net before you can volley, and you cannot play any volleys from inside a marked area on the court. 

Why is pickleball in the limelight?

Pickleball has been launched into mainstream consciousness by celebrities taking up paddles. Huge stars such as Selena Gomez, Emma Watson, Michael Phelps and Andre Agassi have all been pictured giving the sport a go either for fun or for charity tournaments. 

In fact, Selena Gomez is so enamoured with the sport that she has invested in Selkirk Sports which is a pickleball paddle manufacturer. It is said that she has made this financial move to help the sport grow and reach more players. 

Fans of the sport have also been shouting about the physical benefits of pickleball. The nature of the sport means you can leave a game knowing you have had a great cardio workout, which is great for heart health and weight management. Your mind can benefit too, as you will learn to make split-second decisions which can help your cognitive functions. 

Where can you play pickleball?

As pickleball grows in popularity, there are more and more venues offering the sport. Even if you go on holiday, you will be able to play. Some of Neilson’s Beach Clubs offer pickleball lessons so you can try a new skill whilst enjoying the sunshine. Why not book a family activity holiday and get the whole family involved?

If you are looking for somewhere a bit closer to home, Pickleball England has a handy locator which can tell you where your nearest courts are.