One of the Best Things About Pickleball: A Welcoming Community


One of the aspects that truly stands out to me about the sport of pickleball is the incredible sense of inclusivity and welcoming nature of its players. From the moment I first stumbled upon a game being played in a gym, I was immediately drawn to the sport’s inviting atmosphere.

As I watched the players in action, someone approached me without hesitation and kindly asked if I wanted to join in. Curiosity piqued, I picked up a paddle and hit the ball a few times, getting a taste of what pickleball was all about. Although I couldn’t stay for a full game that day due to other commitments, that initial encounter left a lasting impression.

Fast forward a couple of years, and now I find myself in the position of extending the same warm invitation to newcomers as they step onto the courts for the first time. In recent weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of playing with individuals who were brand new to the sport.

One memorable experience was playing with a woman who had never participated in any sports before and had just picked up a paddle the day prior. Despite her lack of prior experience, she displayed remarkable hand-eye coordination and managed to keep the ball in play. It was truly enjoyable to witness her enthusiasm and progress on the court.

Another instance involved two young men in their twenties who were trying pickleball for the very first time. Their agility and quickness were exceptional, making our games fast-paced and exhilarating. Their natural talent and ability to reach almost any shot added an extra level of excitement to our matches.

Additionally, I had the opportunity to play with a gentleman who came from a tennis background. Although he was new to pickleball, his previous experience in tennis allowed him to quickly adapt, while also discovering the nuances and differences between the two sports.

While pickleball remains a welcoming sport for newcomers, I have noticed that certain groups of experienced players tend to gravitate towards playing with those of similar skill levels. Interestingly, it is often the less skilled players who hesitate to join games with more accomplished players. Just this morning, a group of eight of us were engaged in a highly competitive game, with one person waiting on the sidelines.

After the game concluded, we extended an invitation to the waiting player to join us. Surprisingly, she declined, stating that she preferred to wait for her regular playing partners to arrive. However, it’s worth noting that she is a strong player and always brings a sense of fun to the court. It left me wondering why she chose not to join us, especially since she clearly expressed her desire to play.

In the end, my hope is that we continue to foster an environment where everyone feels welcome, regardless of their skill level or experience. This inclusivity is undoubtedly one of the greatest attributes of the game of pickleball.

By embracing players of all backgrounds and abilities, we not only create a vibrant and diverse community but also provide opportunities for growth and development for all involved. So, let’s keep extending that open invitation to all who wish to play and celebrate the spirit of camaraderie that makes pickleball truly special.

What do you think?

Written by Billy Pickles

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