America’s fastest growing sport? Pickleball!

Since the start of the pandemic, pickleball courts have been popping up across Arkansas, with popular locations like Meriwether Park in Little Rock and Vulcan Pickleball Park in Hot Springs.

The Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) recently reported pickleball surged by nearly 40% between 2019 and 2021 to 4.8 million players, becoming the country’s fastest growing sport.

At a time when playing many sports can be expensive, technically demanding and competitive, there is a reason pickleball participation has surged. The culture of this paddle sport is cheap, easy and welcoming to a diversity of ages, races and genders.

“Anyone can pick up a paddle,” says Hope Tolley of the USA Pickleball Association, the sport’s governing body. She adds, “it’s a welcoming culture that sets itself apart from other sports.”

Jama Dock, Wilson Creative Group, The Southwest Florida 100