Pickleball: The Fastest-Growing Sport and Beacon Lake’s Newest Attraction

Sep 15, 2023 Blog, Fun, Lifestyle

Man and woman playing pickle ball outside

Pickleball fever has officially hit Florida, and Beacon Lake is no exception. With the introduction of new courts in our community, residents now have the opportunity to dive into America’s fastest-growing sport. But what exactly is pickleball, and why has it become such a sensation?

Beacon Lake’s New Pickleball Courts

Beacon Lake’s recent addition of four state-of-the-art pickleball courts signifies the community’s commitment to embracing modern recreational trends. Opened on April 22, 2023, these courts serve as a testament to Beacon Lake’s dedication to providing its residents with top-tier amenities. As Blaz Kovacic, Senior Director of BBX Capital, aptly puts it, “The sport’s popularity and ease of learning make it an ideal activity for our residents.” The courts are not just a place to play; they’re a hub for community interaction, fitness, and fun.

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a unique blend of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. Played on a court a third the size of a tennis court, it offers a slower-paced game, making it accessible for people of all ages and fitness levels. The game uses non-stringed paddles and a plastic ball with holes, similar to a wiffle ball. Despite its recent surge in popularity, pickleball has been around since 1965, invented by three dads looking for a way to entertain their families.

Man holding pickleball racket with ball on the courtThe Fundamentals

Pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It’s played on a court similar to a doubles badminton court, with a net that’s slightly lower than in tennis. The game can be played in singles or doubles format.

Pickleball Equipment & Apparel

  • Paddle: Unlike tennis rackets, pickleball uses solid paddles made of wood or composite materials.
  • Ball: The ball is perforated, similar to a wiffle ball, and is designed for flight stability.
  • Apparel: Players typically wear comfortable athletic wear. Specialized shoes with good grip are recommended, but regular tennis shoes can also be used.
  • Accessories: Many players use sweatbands, protective eyewear, and gloves for enhanced grip.

Game Play

  • Serving: The game starts with a serve from the right-hand court, diagonally to the opponent. Only the serving side can score points.
  • Scoring: A game is typically played to 11 points, but players must win by at least 2 points.
  • Double Bounce Rule: After the serve, each side must make at least one groundstroke, ensuring the ball bounces once on each side before volleys (hitting the ball before it bounces) are allowed.
  • Non-Volley Zone: Players cannot volley the ball while standing in “the kitchen”, a seven-foot area on both sides of the net.

Why Florida Loves Pickleball

Florida’s love for pickleball is undeniable. The state ranks as the third most pickleball-obsessed in the U.S., with cities like Miami, Orlando, and Tampa leading the charge. The sport’s low-impact nature, combined with its easy-to-learn rules, makes it especially popular among seniors. However, recent data shows a significant growth in players aged 18-34, proving that pickleball’s appeal is broadening.

Pickleball in Jacksonville

Jacksonville has wholeheartedly embraced the pickleball movement. The city is home to a plethora of facilities dedicated to the sport. Notably, the YARDS, located conveniently close to Beacon Lake, stands out as a premier pickleball facility associated with a club. Offering a vibrant atmosphere and top-notch courts, the YARDS has quickly become a favorite among both novice and seasoned players. 

Other notable facilities include Argyle Forest Park, boasting the largest number of courts in Duval County, and the Ortega Life Center, known for hosting regular social events centered around pickleball. The sport’s ascent in Jacksonville mirrors its national trajectory, with an impressive 11.5% increase in participation over the past five years.

Reasons to Choose a Community with a Pickleball Court

A Social Sport that Fosters Connection

Unlike many other sports, pickleball inherently promotes social interaction. The smaller court size brings players closer together, encouraging communication and camaraderie. Whether it’s strategizing with a partner in doubles or engaging in friendly banter with opponents, the game fosters a sense of community. Many players often find themselves making new friends, joining local clubs, and participating in social events centered around pickleball.

Older woman playing pickleball outsideInclusive for All Ages

One of the standout features of pickleball is its universal appeal. Children can pick up a paddle and learn the basics in a matter of minutes, while seniors appreciate the sport’s low-impact nature, which is gentler on the joints. The game’s inclusive nature ensures that families can play together, bridging generational gaps and creating lasting memories.

Fitness and Wellness Benefits

While pickleball is undeniably fun, it also offers a plethora of health benefits. Regular play can enhance cardiovascular endurance, improve muscle strength, and boost flexibility. The game’s fast-paced nature ensures players remain active, moving constantly to volley the ball. Additionally, the mental aspect of strategizing and reacting quickly sharpens cognitive functions and improves hand-eye coordination.

Events and Tournaments

The pickleball community is vibrant and active, with numerous events and tournaments held throughout the year. From local community challenges to national championships, players of all skill levels have the opportunity to showcase their abilities. These events not only promote healthy competition but also strengthen the bond within the pickleball community, as players travel, network, and share their passion for the sport.

In Conclusion

Pickleball is more than just a rising sport; it’s a movement that encapsulates community, health, and enjoyment. Beacon Lake’s embrace of this trend underscores its vision of creating a holistic living experience for its residents. As the community continues to evolve, pickleball stands as a shining example of its forward-thinking approach to lifestyle and recreation.

So, grab a paddle, invite a neighbor, and join the fun!