LIFE LESSONS COME FROM ALL PLACES—EVEN UNEXPECTED PLACES, LIKE THE PICKLEBALL COURT.
It may come to no surprise to you to hear that the average American child spends 5 to 8 hours a day in front of a digital screen. This may be even further skewed in favor of the screen due to the recent pandemic, where kids, like the rest of us, were forced to social distance. The digital screen often takes the place of active play, which kids need at least 60 minutes of each and every day.
I was able to observe this trend first-hand when two of my cousins (ages 11 and 14) recently came to town for a visit. Television, FaceTimes with friends, and video games were at a premium. I, myself, am guilty of too much screen time, too, between the iPhone, computer, and streaming pickleball to my TV (😊). Electronics and screen time are pretty incredible in how they can connect us, entertain us, and educate us. However, the importance of being active and “playing” should not be ignored. The same goes for the kids, which is why I took them out of the house to play pickleball.
So, we got out from behind the screens and hit the pickleball court! After a quick introduction of the basic rules of pickleball, we jumped right into a game. Within minutes, the entire family was laughing while playing together—pure family bonding moment and clear evidence of the power of pickleball.
Beyond the family bonding, pickleball is also great for kids for the following reasons:
- Pickleball provides physical exercise to meet the threshold of 60 minutes per day;
- Pickleball helps improve the mental state with all those endorphins from playing (endorphins make you happy!);
- Pickleball is easy to understand;
- Pickleball is easy to play, especially compared to tennis, which is more difficult to pick-up quickly and hold a rally;
- Pickleball is easy to set up;
- There is less chance of injury playing pickleball, as compared to other sports;
- Pickleball generally has quick matches, which will hold the kids’ attention spans;
- Pickleball is affordable, especially in comparison to some other activities;
- Pickleball improves socialization skills and offers a chance to make new friends, given that pickleball is a social sport;
- Pickleball helps kids improve their executive function, like decision making, critical thinking, strategizing, and evaluating risks, since pickleball is a game of strategy and every rally offers a new scenario;
- Pickleball offers an opportunity to be competitive;
- If played outside, pickleball can provide a dose of Vitamin D;
- Pickleball improves confidence when kids improve their skills or have success on the pickleball court; and
- Pickleball can be played all year-round (whether indoors or outdoors), and is a sport for life.
All of these benefits were on display when I played with my two young cousins. They were constantly smiling and giggling on the court. And, they spent the remainder of their trip planning their next pickleball outing.
But, pickleball is not just great for kids… Kids are also great for pickleball! According to Simone Jardim (undisputed pickleball legend and reigning #1 women’s pro), youth players—like pro Anna Leigh Waters (age 14)—are crucial to the sport of pickleball. Young players with more athleticism and new creative shots bring more excitement to the sport of pickleball. This ultimately translates to more marketability, more exposure, and more legitimacy of the sport, which will drive the growth of the sport forward and help promote longevity in pickleball.
So, pickleball players, do your part to get kids involved in the sport of pickleball, which will benefit the sport overall. Send your children or grandchildren to the pickleball court. Or, even better yet, go with them! And, do what you can to make pickleball available to other kids in your community.
And, kids, pickleball is not just your grandparents’ game anymore… get out there and play pickleball!
LESSONS FROM THE PICKLEBALL COURT
Read past blogs from the "Lessons from the Pickleball Court" series:
- Lessons from the Pickleball Court: Integrity Is Everything
- Lessons from the Pickleball Court: Go Down Swinging
- Lessons from the Pickleball Court: Read the Room (or the Pickleball Court)
- Lessons from the Pickleball Court: Always Be Prepared
- Lessons from the Pickleball Court: Referees Are Impactful
- Lessons from the Pickleball Court: Never Judge a “Pickleball Book” by Its Cover
What lesson have you learned from the sport of pickleball? Share with us in the comments below, or reach out to me personally via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.