Pickleball, what is it: a sport that likes the stars and takes over the beaches

Generations of rackets.

pickleball what is it

photo: getty

Legend has it that Leonardo DiCaprio would not have set foot on the set of an important photo shoot if he had not been given a morning session first. However, in the Clooney family in Los Angeles, it is Amal who often wins matches against George. Bill Gates and the Kardashian family are superfans. So does tennis star Serena Williams.

Down to India Hicks, former model, goddaughter of King Charles and unofficial sports ambassador, who just released a racket collection with the American brand Recess. Many no longer doubt: pickleball is a sport at the moment. And not just among celebrities. But what is it?

Pickleball Arrow

pickleball what is it

photo: unsplash

According to a survey conducted The newspaper “New York Timesthis racket game fastest growing sport in the US. There are about 9 million pickles in the country, and this figure has increased by 159% over the past three years. Sports and Fitness Industry Association.

Since early spring, New York’s Central Park has taken over 14 pickleball courts. This is used by American brands and designers such as J.Crew, Norma Kamali, Cynthia Rowley and Alice + Olivia. boom to create targeted clothing and accessories. Enthusiasm is such that New Yorker recently devoted an article to this phenomenon entitled: “Can a Pickled Cucumber Save America?”. Defending the daring thesis, according to which this sport can unite the country precisely because of its “democratic nature”.


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Its popularity is recent: the pickleball was invented in 1965 by Seattle politician Joel Pritchard. One Saturday morning, unable to find his badminton rackets, he starts playing on a special field, but with ping-pong rackets and a ball with holes. The name was an homage to his dog Pickle, whose playful temperament made him constantly chase balls.

The sport came to Europe in 2014 thanks to Pierre Obozinski, President of the National Pickleball Federation. Today, in France alone, there are a thousand regular players. A number that is growing day by day. In addition, there is a committee that deals with the introduction of this sport in elementary schools and universities.

What is Pickleball?

As for the rules pickleball looks like tennis. You can play doubles or singles, only one rebound is allowed, the serve is crossed and there is a volley. There are options: for example, a layup, the obligation to hit the ball once on both courts before it can volley (which must be done outside the area behind the net). And points: you need 11 to win the game. This may seem complicated, and it is, but only at the beginning.

“Addictive” is the exclamation most gamers use to describe this game. “It’s so much fun that you can play for hours.” So confirms India Hicks, who started playing it during the pandemic in the Bahamas, where she lives. “Pickleball is less physically and technically demanding than tennis. The grip is light and the field is small. It’s about a quarter of a tennis court. It is also very dynamic, there are many more draws than in tennis or beach tennis. That is why he “makes a group” and several spontaneous associations of amateurs were born in the USA.


While pickleball requires less physical effort than other racquet sports, it does provide general physical activity. Recent Research University of Western Colorado found that picklers had an average heart rate of 109 beats per minute and burned 354 calories per hour. This skilled pickleball is among medium intensity workouts such as hiking, yoga and running.

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In addition to cardio and muscle strengthening, it also develops reflexes, coordination, and improves flexibility and balance. Added value? Bye it’s very playful, can be a good solution for those who find it difficult to maintain a regular sports regimen. And it’s perfect for the holidays.


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