pickleball become a high school sport

Will pickleball become a high school sport?

Will pickleball become a high school sport? More and more people are asking if paddle sports are becoming more popular, especially among adults and seniors. Pickleball was invented back in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, by Joe Pritchard and friends. They basically combined elements of badminton, ping-pong, and tennis to create this new game.

Pickleball has been popular for over 50 years, but it has grown a lot in the last ten years. It began as a backyard game and is now a popular recreational sport. Many older adults and seniors enjoy playing pickleball because it’s a fun way to exercise without being too hard. Pickleball is easy to learn and has become popular all over the country.

My wife and I went to a pickleball tournament at a nearby tennis court. We saw the excitement and energy of the sport there. We even watched a few pro pickleball players in action, showing us just how fast-paced and competitive pickleball can be.

Pickleball is becoming popular in the U.S. Many people are playing and enjoying the game. It is a fun way to stay active and meet new people, whether you are experienced or new to the game.

Why Pickleball is Growing Rapidly as a high school sports

Pickleball’s tremendous growth can be attributed to several key factors that have made it appealing to people of all ages and skill levels.

pickleball to become a widely adopted high school sport

It’s easy to learn and fun for all ages 

First and foremost, it is an incredibly easy sport to pick up and learn the basics. The rules are simple, and players can get the hang of proper strokes and court positioning fairly quickly. This easy learning curve means pickleball is fun right from the start for newcomers.

Minimal equipment needed: paddle, ball, court

Another big driver of pickleball’s rise is how little is required in terms of equipment and facilities. You just need a paddle, a ball, and a court with a net. 

It can be played indoors or outdoors

Many parks, rec centers, and schools have readily converted tennis or badminton courts by adding pickleball lines. The ability to play both indoors and outdoors on a small court is also very convenient. Unlike most sports, you don’t need much space or fancy gear to play pickleball.

Provides light to moderate exercise

The exercise benefits of pickleball should not be overlooked as a reason for its growth spurt. It provides a great opportunity for light to moderate physical activity by getting players moving laterally and doing some running back and forth on the court. But it’s not too strenuous for most people, making it an ideal low-impact workout.

It’s a social sport

Finally, pickleball has managed to strike the perfect balance of being both social and competitive. Players enjoy the camaraderie of hitting with friends and meeting new playing partners. At the same time, there’s enough competition involved to keep things challenging and exciting when serving, returning, and volleying.

Can be played singles or doubles

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America, with pickleball courts popping up all over the country. It can be played in singles or doubles, making it a versatile option for players of all skill levels. The USA Pickleball Association projects that by 2024, pickleball could surpass tennis as the most popular club sport in high schools.

“They” are already starting a pickleball team at several high schools in Maryland, including Mount Saint Joseph High School. The athletic director at the school, a former tennis player, sees the value in offering pickleball as a fall sport option for high schoolers.The youth pickleball association is trying to make pickleball an official sport in schools, like tennis.

The Case for Adding Pickleball as High Schools Sport

Existing Facilities Can Be Utilized

One big advantage for high schools considering adding pickleball is that many already have suitable courts that can be converted for the sport. Pickleball can be played on a badminton-sized court at schools that already have the facilities. Just add pickleball lines and a net.This allows schools to implement pickleball in a cost-effective way by taking advantage of existing infrastructure.

Ypu may also like: 9 Best Pickleball Paddles Under $100 for Beginners to Pros

Engaging Non-Traditional Athletes

High schools can use pickleball to attract students who aren’t into popular sports like football or basketball. Pickleball is easy to learn and doesn’t require elite athleticism, making it great for kids who want to be active. By offering pickleball, schools can involve more students than traditional sports.

A Recreational Sport for Life

Learning pickleball at the high school level can introduce students to a fun recreational activity they can continue playing for decades after graduating. Its slightly demanding nature makes it conducive to a lifetime of social and competitive play. Participating in high school exposes students early to an enjoyable sport that promotes an active lifestyle into adulthood.

Inclusive to All Skill Levels

Pickleball is good for both competitive players and beginners. High schools can offer pickleball to all students, regardless of their skills or abilities. This gives kids who may not make varsity teams in other sports a chance to play a sport.

Co-Ed Opportunities

As a doubles sport, pickleball at the high school level allows for co-ed teams, with boys and girls competing together. This mixed aspect could appeal to some students interested in a change from traditional single-gender sports. It’s also a chance for high schools to promote an environment of positive male-female relationships through sports.

Low Cost to Implement

Compared to most high school sports, the costs involved in schools launching pickleball programs is very low. The primary expenses are purchasing paddles, balls, and portable nets if they don’t convert existing courts. But it requires no extensive facilities or exorbitant equipment fees. Setting up a team is well within most high schools’ athletic budgets.

Challenges Facing Pickleball As a High School Sport

Starting a pickleball club at a high school can be tough, especially if there’s already a tennis team. The high school athletic association should push for pickleball to be part of PE classes and a competitive choice for students. With a growth rate of 158.6 percent in the U.S, pickleball could be a popular high school sport by 2022.

They need to convince lacrosse and tennis players to try pickleball, maybe by adding new courts and having a student ambassador promote the sport. Recently, a sophomore successfully proposed adding pickleball as a recreation option for students, showing there’s interest in the sport.

Playing pickleball at school can be a fun way for students to stay active and make friends. Students can play singles or doubles, depending on what they like. Adding pickleball to the school’s sports program can give students a new and exciting activity to enjoy, especially if they don’t usually play tennis or other sports.

Models for Introducing Pickleball to High Schools Sport

Physical Education Elective

One way for high schools to introduce pickleball is by offering it as an elective class through the physical education department. This allows students to learn the basics of the sport as part of their curriculum. Pickleball could be taught for a quarter or semester, exposing a wider range of kids to the game in an instructional setting first.

After-School Intramural Club

An intramural pickleball club is another low-risk option to gauge interest and get students playing. Holding organized play after school hours as an extracurricular activity can help build a pickleball community within the school. Clubs can be student-led initially and provide a chance to try competitive play in a relaxed environment.

Petition for Court Conversions

In schools with existing tennis or badminton courts, a path is to start a petition drive for converting those courts to add pickleball lines and portable nets. Having proper on-campus facilities makes adopting pickleball as an actual school sport more viable long-term. Student and parent support shown through petitions demonstrates interest.

Train Coaching Staff

For any high school looking to field pickleball teams, they’ll need coaches well-versed in the sport. PE teachers can be trained through certifications, but another option is upskilling existing tennis coaches to handle pickleball too given the similarities in court layout and gameplay.

Regional Interscholastic Leagues

Rather than waiting on a national governing body, local areas could take the initiative to form regional interscholastic pickleball leagues starting with interested high schools in the same city, county or conference. This bottom-up approach builds momentum for competitive play and can serve as a model for statewide and national leagues over time.

Benefits of Adding Pickleball As a High School Sport

Increased Physical Activity for Students

Introducing pickleball provides high schools another avenue to get students more physically active. The moderate exercise demanded by pickleball helps increase overall activity levels for teens. With obesity and sedentary lifestyles a growing issue, any opportunities for extra exercise through new sports offerings is a positive health benefits of playing pickleball.

Provides Alternative to Traditional Sports

Not every student is drawn to the major team sports like football, basketball, baseball, etc. Pickleball allows high schools to cater to different athletic interests outside of just the traditional sports offerings. It provides a competitive outlet for students looking for an alternative.

Engages Less Athletic Students

The inherent accessibility of pickleball means it has the potential to engage students who might not make the cut or have the elite abilities for other varsity sports teams. Less gifted athletes can still participate and feel part of an organized school sport program through pickleball.

Lifetime Recreational Activity

Learning pickleball in high school exposes students early to an activity they can inexpensively enjoy recreationally for the rest of their lives. The sport’s popularity skews older, so it teaches teens a pastime perfect for continuing to play socially as they age into adulthood.

Leadership Development Opportunities

As a new and growing sport, high schools adding pickleball allow students to take leadership roles in being pioneers and ambassadors for developing pickleball locally. Activities like advocating to start teams or clubs fosters skills valuable for students long-term.

The Future of Pickleball As a High School Sport

Based on the rapid rise of pickleball’s popularity across age groups, all signs point to continued growth and expansion into the high school sports landscape in the coming years.

At the youth level, pickleball is primed to proliferate as more and more kids get exposed to the sport through community programs, summer camps, and physical education curriculums. This grassroots adoption at younger ages creates a pipeline of interested players who will drive demand for high school teams and interscholastic competitions.

To meet this anticipated growth, a key focus will be training up a workforce of qualified pickleball coaches. As the need for high school programs increases, certifications and clinics to produce coaches well-versed in skills, strategies, and organizing pickleball will become crucial. Physical education teachers and existing tennis coaches are obvious candidates to undergo pickleball coaching instruction.

In the relatively near future, regional and state-level high school pickleball leagues will begin sprouting up and organizing interscholastic matches, tournaments, and championship events. This natural progression builds the governance structure and formalizes rules for high school play within individual areas.

While still a few years away, it’s likely that within the next 5-10 years we’ll see the establishment of an official national governing body for high school pickleball. Standards, nationwide competitions, and true varsity letter status could follow for schools adopting pickleball as an officially sanctioned sport.

Considering the unique benefits pickleball offers high schools – the inclusiveness, easy adoption, scalability, low costs, and student appeal – it’s hard to envision pickleball not becoming widely available within the next decade. The convenience factors and positive impacts provide compelling reasons for most high schools to ultimately add pickleball to their sports offerings.


There are strong reasons for and against making pickleball a common sport in high schools. Not many people know about this sport, and it’s similar to tennis. It has few coaches and no official group, making it hard for people to accept it.

On the other side, pickleball is becoming very popular, it’s easy and cheap to start, and it’s fun for students no matter their sports skills, which are good reasons for high schools to consider starting pickleball programs. Pickleball is growing fast in the sports world, and it’s likely that more high schools will include it soon.

It could start with pickleball lessons in PE, club teams, and making spaces to play, and then grow into official school competitions as more people become interested. In the next 5-10 years, there will likely be more support for coaching, regional events, and a national organization. This will help pickleball become a recognized sport in many high schools.


What equipment is needed to play pickleball?

The basic equipment needed for pickleball is a paddle, a perforated plastic ball, and a net on a badminton-sized court. Players also wear comfortable athletic clothing and court shoes.

How does pickleball differ from tennis?

The main differences are that pickleball is played on a smaller court with a lower net, uses solid paddles instead of stringed rackets, has a perforated plastic ball that doesn’t bounce as high, and involves an underhand serving motion.

What are the basic rules of pickleball?

Key rules include allowing the ball to bounce once per side before volleys, not volleying in the non-volley zone near the net, serving diagonally underhand, and scoring only when serving.

What are the health benefits of pickleball?

Pickleball provides a full-body workout improving cardiovascular fitness, hand-eye coordination, agility, and balance. It’s a moderate intensity activity ideal for all ages and fitness levels.

How much does it cost for a school to set up pickleball?

Costs are very low relative to most sports, likely under $1,000 to supply paddles, nets, balls and court line painting if converting existing tennis/basketball courts.

How many students are needed to start a school pickleball program?

While team sizes can vary, most recommend starting with at least 8-12 students to field both singles and doubles teams. But programs can easily begin smaller.

What are good ways to promote pickleball at a high school?

Smart promotional ideas include hosting demos during PE classes, setting up pop-up courts at pep rallies, starting an intramural club, and getting the student council involved.

Are there pickleball scholarships for college?

A handful of colleges are beginning to offer modest pickleball scholarships, but not at the level of major varsity sports yet as it continues growing.

What disabilities can play pickleball?

Pickleball is very inclusive for those with disabilities. Players in wheelchairs, with prosthetics, or physical limitations can enjoy the sport with its small court and versatility.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *