Pickleball Pandemonium: Designing America’s Fastest Growing Sport

April 11, 2023

It’s the fastest-growing sport in America – with over 8.9 million people playing it. And according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, participation has grown 158.6% over the last 3 years.

That’s right…

We’re talking about Pickleball.

Created by a couple of dads trying to entertain their kids during the summer of 1965, the sport has come full circle since it’s humble beginnings. Today, it’s gained the support of over 10,000 communities across the nation.


It’s easy to play. Cross-generational. Social in nature. And most importantly, it’s becoming more and more accessible.

Not only are pickleball courts more available, but they’re becoming more inclusive through adaptive equipment and intentional court designs – allowing people with disabilities or limited mobility to participate. There’s also been an effort to engage underrepresented populations, encouraging them to play.

This Master Plan features multiple pickleball courts, two of which are ADA accessible for limited mobility participants.

For many, pickleball became a tradition during the COVID-19 pandemic. It offered them a way to get fresh air, exercise, and socialization during a time when being secluded was encouraged. As pickleball continues to evolve across America, becoming a staple in households and amongst friends, its impact on both individuals and the community is evolving as well.

Improved Social Connections

Considered a social sport, pickleball can bring people together from all walks of life. It provides an opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, and build a sense of community.

Enhanced Parks & Recreation

By providing a new and exciting activity for residents, pickleball can help enhance the quality and enjoyment of local parks and recreation facilities.

Boosts Economy

A unique pickleball site has the opportunity to become a regional destination. Along with that, tournaments and events can attract visitors from all over – helping to boost community businesses and contribute to the local economy.

Increased Accessibility

With the ability to be played both indoors and out, pickleball can be adapted to suit players with disabilities – making it accessible to a wide range of people. This can include offering lower nets and modified paddles, providing areas of respite, and designing for ease of access with ADA accessible courts, pathways, and facilities.

Improved Health

Playing pickleball regularly can improve cardiovascular health, increase flexibility, and build strength. It’s also known to improve mental health by reducing stress and anxiety and providing an outlet for people to unwind.

Enhanced Cognitive Function

Pickleball requires strategic thinking and quick decision-making, which can help improve cognitive function and memory.

Pickleball promotes improved health and enhanced cognitive functions for participants of all ages.

Ultimately, the long-term success of pickleball will rely on courts that have been properly designed and constructed – following USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) guidelines. But so much more goes into the design!  

Aside from its size, foundation, surfacing, striping, and netting, many additional components need to be considered:

  • The location of gates is important and should be carefully decided to ensure the safety, accessibility, and fair play of the game.
  • Court orientation is also significant, with a north/south alignment preferred. This will minimize the impact of the sun on the court and participants, helping to maintain consistent playing conditions throughout the day.
  • Choosing the right color scheme is crucial for enhancing both the visibility and clarity of the court. Opting for colors that offer suitable contrast and blend seamlessly with the environment can help foster a pleasant experience.
  • Designated seating areas with shade and good court visibility are vital for consideration in terms of safety, socialization, and the enjoyment of players and spectators.
  • Giving attention to lighting and security options is also important and can be a crucial step in ensuring everyone’s safety.
  • The inclusion of paddle holders, allowing a team to hold its place in line for a court, is also a unique idea that can enhance fair play.

In addition, there are other essential components that may not always get the necessary consideration they deserve. For example, providing accessible trails and walkways. If individuals can’t easily access the courts, they’ll be less likely to play or may go elsewhere. Another critical component is drainage. The site needs to be graded appropriately so that it provides adequate drainage and minimizes standing water on the courts – giving the option for year-round play. Finally, the surrounding area should be designed and landscaped appropriately. It needs to be free of any obstructions or hazards that may interfere with the game, and there should be sufficient space around the court for players to move freely and retrieve the ball.

This Master Plan shows a high-contrast color scheme, as well as easy access into the pickleball courts.

JPR has a strong background designing unique pickleball courts that meet the standards and guidelines set by the USAPA. We can provide creative solutions that enhance the aesthetics and functionality of your site and will always recommend best practices based on your location, budget, and maintenance requirements.

Our team understands what it takes to create a safe, enjoyable playing environment, and we want to help you enhance your community through the fastest growing sport in America.

If you’re ready to take the next step in community improvement, or are curious how pickleball could impact your area, contact us today at www.jpr1source.com/contact.

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