Pickleball taking off in Tallahassee

Photo courtesy: www.pickleheads.com

Pickleball has quickly become a popular sport in Tallahassee and is now named the fastest-growing sport in the United States for three years in a row, according to Brandon Mackie, the co-founder of pickleheads.

There are more than 36.5 million pickleball players in the United States and more than 10,320 locations to play.

Pickleball is a simple sport to get into, and although there is a broad age spectrum, it is mainly played by ages 18-34.

In the paddle sport of pickleball, a plastic ball with holes and a paddle are used to mix aspects of badminton, tennis and ping-pong.

It received the name pickleball after founder Joel Pritchard’s dog, Pickle, which would chase the ball and run with it.

Bill Bell and Barney McCallum in Bainbridge Island, Washington, also founded pickleball. The first-ever pickleball tournament was in 1976 in Tukwila, Washington.

The most popular place for pickleball players to go online is called pickleheads. Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America. Players may identify courts, plan sessions, and connect with other players in their area with the aid of the pickleheads platform.

Florida currently holds the most locations to play pickleball, with 1,047 courts. The top places to play in Tallahassee are Daniel B Chaires Park and Community Center, Jack L. McLean Jr. Community Center, Tom Brown Tennis Center, Four Oaks Park, and Walker-Ford Community Center.

“Pickleheads,” a nickname for pickleball  players, have 13 locations to play in Tallahassee, making the state’s capital one of the most popular places to play in Florida.

Brandon Mackie, the co-founder of pickleheads, loves the growing sport.

“The magic of pickleball is that it’s easy to learn but hard to master. Beginners can go out their first time, learn the game, have fun and even win a few games. But advanced players stay challenged and keep coming back for more. This dynamic is a big reason why pickleball continues growing like crazy,” he said.

In 2023, there were more than 47 significant pickleball competitions across the country, along with professional leagues such as Major League Pickleball. Additionally, there was a prize fund for the events that varied from $9 to $11 million.

Mackie elaborated on how fast pickleball has grown over the years. “Pickleball’s popularity exploded during the pandemic when many Americans looked for responsible ways to socialize and stay active. But that was only the beginning. Pickleball’s growth has continued even as lockdowns have ended and normal life has resumed,” Mackie said.

There are also ways to stay connected to pickleball away from the courts by following Facebook groups and local pickleball clubs.