If you’re anything like us, the first time you heard the term “pickleball” you had a few questions: What the heck is a pickleball? How do you hit the ball with a pickle? Why are you talking to me?
Luckily, the sport has fermented quickly enough for us to read some rulebooks and get up to speed. However, there are still a few remaining questions beyond the obvious, “Why don’t people just play tennis or badminton instead?”
We are fortunate enough here at Gradient to have just the tools needed to open the jar of questions about pickleball, most importantly: Who is playing this game? Unlike us, the majority of Americans have heard of pickleball, with over two-thirds of Americans having heard of the court-based sport. However, despite this widespread familiarity with the game, only 18% have played it.
Americans over 45 are the most likely to be soured on pickleball; as they have the highest recognition of the sport (75% have heard of it), but they are far less likely than younger generations to actually play. The discrepancy can likely be explained by the sport’s up-and-cucumber status. Respondents 46+ are exposed to the sport primarily by watching people play it on TV, while those between the ages of 18-30 say they first discovered the sport by playing it in PE class.
Either way, we aren’t gherkin your chain when we say that the sport is really taking the world by storm.