Children in school these days run the full gamut of gym and schoolyard activities from a very young age. Elementary and middle school gym class can be fun and beneficial, but it can also be dangerous and emotionally exhausting.
With over 700,000 children 14 and younger being treated for sports-related injuries every year, there has never been a better time to encourage your children to participate in safe, fun, and engaging activities both at school and as recreational hobbies.
With the increased awareness of the long-term complications associated with brain injuries, now is the time to think about alternatives to heavy contact sports. Even traditionally, low-contact sports like soccer are being linked to life-altering brain traumas.
We all know that children need exercise and that the best way to get that is to participate in group sports and physical activities. However, as historically traditional sports like football are being deemed very dangerous for youngsters to play, what do you encourage you, children, to get involved in? There is a long list of low-contact sports to get your children excited about, there’s tennis, swimming, competitive rowing, diving, and cross-country skiing, to name a few. But today we’re going to talk about pickleball and the laundry list of reasons why it is a fantastic sport to encourage your children to play.
Before we get into all the great reasons to urge your children to play pickleball, we must first clarify for those who don’t know what exactly pickleball is.
At its very core pickleball is ping-pong but on a tennis court with a little dash of badminton, oh and the ball is akin to a traditional wiffleball. Pickleball is a paddle sport played on a court that is 20 feet by 40 feet, and the net is hung at 36 inches on either side 34 inches in the middle. The court looks very similar to that of a tennis court and is typically made of the same material; however, pickleball courts are significantly smaller. The rules are most similar to ping-pong, so it is effortless to learn.
Pickleball is Easy to Learn
The scoring in pickleball is much easier to understand than tennis or racquetball, and the other rules are easy to wrap your head around as well. The ease of the learning experience makes it a fantastic place for youngsters to start getting involved in organized activities and team sports.
It’s Great for all Skill Levels
Competitive sports and activities can be very intimidating for younger children. Part of what makes pickleball so great is how easy it is to pick up, making it a very approachable activity. Much like ping-pong, pickleball is one of those activities where even a complete novice can have a great time with a pro. Pickleball is an easy sport to play up or down in skill level and have it will be a blast for both parties. The approachability of pickleball makes it far more accessible than tennis but can offer children the building blocks they need to advance to tennis if they so desire.
It’s Tons of Fun
Simple as that, pickleball is an absolute blast. If your child has any inclination towards paddle or racket sports, then pickleball will prove to be a lot of fun for them. Being so easy to learn makes pickleball that much more fun. It won’t be long after picking up a paddle for the first time that you’re making attempts at putting spin the ball, trying trick shots. Pickleball will soon become a great way to push your comfort zone in a fun and exciting way. Too often these days parents and their children get so wrapped up in the seriousness of organized sports and forget that at the end of the day these activities are supposed to be fun.
It’s a Social Game
Pickleball courts being so much smaller than tennis courts make it a great game for socializing. Learning how to socialize in a semi-competitive atmosphere is an invaluable skill for any child, and few activities are as well suited to socializing than pickleball. With social and competitive skills, a child develops playing pickleball, they are ready to take on any challenge.
Pickleball is Safe, and Low-Contact
The only reason you can’t say that pickleball isn’t a no-contact sport is that you can play doubles. If you are engaging in a doubles match, there is, of course, the opportunity for contact among team members. However, this is a very low-risk sport as far as collision injuries are concerned. Falls are the number one cause of brain injuries amongst children. With a relatively low chance of contact that would result in a fall to the ground, pickleball is a great starting point for children and parents who want to avoid such injuries.
When you keep in mind that only 30% of Americans have established long-term savings plans, chances are you can’t afford to have your child suffer a serious sports injury.
Getting your child involved in organized sporting activities is a fantastic place to start when ensuring the safety of your child. More than 775,000 children experience injuries as a result of falls, being struck by an object, collisions, and overexertion during unorganized or informal sports activities, thus, involving your child in an organized pickleball league with greatly reduce their risk of the above injuries.
It’s Great Exercise
Getting your children in the habit of exercising is something they will thank you for later in life. As children turn into adults and metabolisms slow down dramatically, your child will be happy that they developed excellent exercise habits through pickleball at a young age. Pickleball offers children help in developing physical skills that will serve them their whole life, such as balance, agility, speed, and hand-eye coordination. Pickleball is a great way to introduce your children to the idea of exercising for fun and as a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
It’s Competitive, but not too Competitive
There is a fine line when it comes to how competitive you want your child to be at a very young age. Pickleball seems to hang out right on that line. If you are experienced and playing with other expert pickleball players, it can prove to be a very competitive and serious activity. However, if you are a beginner and playing with other beginners, it can be loads of fun to get a sense of the level of competition that lies down the road. It’s a great way for your children to get their feet wet without diving headfirst into the deep end.
You Can Play Your Whole Life
As is the case with tennis, pickleball is a low impact sport that doesn’t have a high potential for injury. Getting your children involved in pickleball may provide them with a lifelong hobby. Even if your child goes on to participate in other organized sports or activities, they can always fall back on pickleball later in life as a great way to continue to get exercise. Pickleball is especially popular amongst elderly folk as it offers them great exercise with very low associated risk.
Unlike other organized sports and activities, pickleball has minimal startup costs and offers tremendously low continuation costs. Unlike activities like hockey and football, where you’re looking at spending close to $1,000 on gear before your child can even play, with pickleball, all your child will need is a paddle and a decent pair of tennis shoes.
This is not to say that you can’t upgrade your gear. If your child becomes serious about pickleball, there are paddle upgrades and shoe upgrades that can really advance their game.
You can Play with Them!
As all parents know, finding activities that both you and your children enjoy can be challenging and somewhat stressful. You might find that pickleball is a great way to get personally involved in your child’s life. If you don’t know how to play, and neither do you, it can be a great sport to learn with them, as it is easy to learn, fun, and affordable.
If you’re looking for a great entry-level sport to introduce to your children, pickleball is the answer. If you’re worried about the risk of injury associated with traditional contact sports but know your kids need the physical and mental outlet offered by organized sports, pickleball can be an excellent option for your children. Even if you’re looking for nothing more than a bonding activity to help connect with your children, pickleball can be your saving grace. No matter what you’re looking for in a sport for your children, pickleball has it all.