YES – Pickleball is Exploding in Popularity as a Sport for All Ages!
Pickleball Canada recently commissioned a respected national research company to survey more than 2,000 Canadian households on household participation in various sports, including pickleball, soccer, hockey, tennis and golf.
The survey, conducted in January 2022 included the following questions:
- How often do you play pickleball?
- Why do you play pickleball?
- Where do you play pickleball?
- Age, gender, employment status, etc.
The survey results showed that 8% of Canadian households report at least one household member plays pickleball once per month. By extrapolating the data, this indicates that there are now one million individual Canadians playing pickleball at least once a month, with 45% playing four or more times/month. When analyzing the results from a similar survey conducted in January 2020, Pickleball Canada estimated there were 350,000 pickleball players in Canada. The 2022 survey indicates a near tripling of the number of pickleball players in Canada in two years. This analysis is supported by anecdotal reports of demands for more facilities, instruction, organized play and competition all across Canada.
The sport continues to be popular with older adults who typically play during the week. The sport is now also attracting younger, working adults as facilities become available during evening hours and weekends.
The age group showing the fastest rate of growth are players aged 18 to 34, with a 26% increase over the number of players in this group playing at least once per month in 2020. This age group also reports a very high frequency of play with 13% playing 15 or more times/month!
The reasons for playing pickleball vary by age grouping. However, for all ages, 62% report the primary reason as being “Fun” with baby boomers pushing the number up to 89%! The next highest overall response was the 38% of individuals who indicated they play for the “Social Aspects” of the game. A high percentage (66%) of baby boomers report playing for the “Health and Fitness” benefits.
The gender split is slightly higher for females except for the 55+ age group where the number of males participating exceeds the number of females.
No questions were asked regarding the number of players below the age of 18, but with the development of programs for junior pickleball players in many parts of Canada, this is a group with tremendous growth potential.
Compared to our neighbour to the south, 2.6% of Canadians play pickleball, versus 1.2% of Americans. The number of players belonging to the sport’s national governing body is also significantly higher. As of the end December 2021, membership in Pickleball Canada stood at 28,000 members, representing .07% of Canada’s population, while the USA Pickleball Association’s 50,000 members represents .015% of their population.
The last set of numbers indicates that the model we are following in Canada has been very successful in connecting pickleball players with the more than 200 local affiliated clubs, as well as with provincial/territorial organizations and with the national organization – Pickleball Canada.
Through Pickleball Canada, a valuable package of benefits is provided to every affiliated organization and participant, including:
- a comprehensive package of insurance products,
- a National Coaching Certification Program,
- a national program for accreditation of Officials,
- access to sanctioned tournaments,
- preferred pricing for a tournament management and club league systems, and
- Canadian Tournament Player Ratings.
These benefits help explain the growth in the number of registered participants, but the main reason all ages are playing pickleball is – ‘It’s FUN!’
For more information, contact
Karen Rust (she/her/elle)