There is a sport that is exploding on the scene with players, not just young, but over the age of 60. Pickleball. Can both Tennis and Pickleball coexist? Mary Helen Sprecher has a great article in Tennis industry magazine.
Pickleball and Tennis: Can They Be Friends?
Insiders say the explosive growth of pickleball can be a positive for the tennis market — if tennis lets it.
Sports that are skyrocketing in popularity can usually point to a youthful, testosterone-fueled athlete base and a bucket-list appeal (we’re looking at you, obstacle racing.) But when was the last time a sport absolutely exploded off the charts because of an aging demographic that couldn’t get enough of it?
Not before, and not until, pickleball. And with 68% of all its players over 60 years of age and more players coming in every day, it’s sneaking up on the tennis market.
Not that anyone in the industry really wants to admit that.
“It’s gaining,” says consultant Doug Cash succinctly. “There are more than 2 million people playing it today. In a few years, we expect there to be 8 million. It’s gaining popularity and it’s gaining players.”
The paddle sport with the funny name — the one that took hold in the Sun Belt and migrated north and east as snowbirds came home — is here to stay and poised for even more growth. According to the Sports & Fitness Association’s 2015 Participation Report, pickleball participation is at 2.46 million. Because it has so many skills compatible with those of tennis, its smaller courts, underhand strokes and slower balls are finding favor among baby boomers who spent their previous decades hitting overhead smashes and charging the net — and who now want to stay active and competitive, despite their limitations.