Saturday, February 1, 2014

International Pickleball Survey Results

International Pickleball Survey Results Are In! (USAPA Feb/14 Newsletter) Submitted by Michael Hess, President, Spanish Pickleball Association
Pickleball is often described as “The Fastest Growing Sport in North America” and given its evolution over the past decade it’s hard to find another sport more deserving of the title.
To gain a better understanding of pickleballers’ commitment to the sport we performed a survey in 2013 to explore the motives and barriers for participating. The findings of our survey, summarized below, are intended to help organizers of pickleball events, clubs, training and tournaments enhance players' experience and to attract new players to this great sport.
Survey Participants
Nearly 600 pickleball players from the U.S., Canada and Ireland participated in this survey. Participants were evenly split between females and males with an average age of 66. The large majority of respondents (87%) live in the U.S., while 8% were from Ireland and 5% from Canada.
Commitment to Pickleball Participation
Over 90% of the survey participants expressed a high level of commitment to pickleball (i.e., they are “determined” or “very determined” to continue playing), including over 75% of the “rookie” players from Ireland.
What Motivates People to Play Pickleball?
To help understand pickleballers’ motives, participants were asked to provide the three to five most important reasons they play pickleball. More than 2,000 motivation factors were given. Below is a ranking of the most important reason for playing for both males and females based on the frequency with which the reasons were expressed:
1st: Health-related: exercise, fit, active, health, physical, workout, shape, body, cardio
2nd: Fun-related: fun, enjoy, doing something I’m good at, travel
3rd: Competition-related: competition/compete/competitive, challenge, win
4th: Social-related: social, friend[ship], people, meet, spouse, partner, family, team, camaraderie, fellowship
5th: Development-related: learn, improve, achieve, mental, mind, brain, alertness
Males and females expressed very similar reasons, though there were some slight differences. For example, “fun-related” factors were mentioned more frequently by females and “competition-related” factors were mentioned more frequently by males.
We hope that the survey findings, which further enable us to understand the increasing popularity of the sport, can help pickleball organizers to fine tune promotional efforts and generate new approaches to enhance the overall playing experience.
Michael Hess, PhD, is a Professor of Sport Management and President of the Spanish Pickleball Association ( He conducted the survey together with David Scally, Sports Administrator of the Westmeath Sports Partnership in Ireland (

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