Why everyone is talking about pickleball, the hottest new sport in town

Like tennis but hate the idea of chasing after lost balls? Or keen on taking up badminton, but you’re after something a little more energetic? If these are the kind of sporting questions that keep you up at night, then the fast-growing sport of pickleball could provide the perfect solution. A low impact sport that’s easy on the joints makes it an ideal pastime for newbies into racket games, or those looking for something a little different to pique their fitness interest.

 Get ready and scratch that itch at Dubai Sports World this summer, where pickleball has made its grand entrance for the first time as one of the many sports on offer during the three-month-long festival of fitness. Whether you are a complete beginner, a practiced pro, or even want to improve your cardio level, all are welcome to experience the much-talked-about new sport through classes provided by ‘Sportsify World Pickleball Academy’ at Dubai Sports World.

While a game of football, rugby, cricket, or hockey may be out of reach for some, pairing up with a friend or colleague to take on a pickleball duo is a great way to bond and develop new relationships – while seeking out that inner ‘mentality monster’ on the sports field. The stress-busting attributes of sport are well documented, with team sports in particular, proven support for mental wellness.

Played on a court similar in size to a badminton court (6 metres by 13 metres), but with a net the same height as tennis – pickleball is played as a singles or doubles game with racquets sized slightly smaller than those used in a game of tennis. It is the racquet’s holes and size that make the perforated ball travel slower, making for longer rallies and more adventurous shot making in even the most novice of players.

Games are contested with underarm serves, and are won by the team that reaches 11 points first, with a clear two-point margin from their opponent. A 2-metre zone from the net called ‘The Kitchen’ must be cleared by the server, and players are prohibited from making volleys from this area during play. The game originated in the US in the 1960s and has grown in popularity in recent years due to its accessibility and playability, a key reason why it was added to the 2023 list of sports for Dubai Sports World.

Pickleball has a number of health benefits of note and can help to improve your balance, coordination, and overall hand-eye coordination:

  • Improves cardiovascular health. Pickleball is a great way to get your heart rate up and improve your cardiovascular health. A study by the University of North Carolina found that pickleball players had a 12 per cent increase in cardiorespiratory fitness after playing three times per week for six months.
  • Strengthens muscles and bones. The constant movement and quick changes of direction help to build muscle and improve bone density.
  • Improves balance and coordination. The need to quickly react to the ball and move your body in different ways helps to improve these important skills.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety. The physical activity helps to release endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. Additionally, the social interaction involved in playing pickleball can help to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Improves mental health. A study by the University of Utah found that pickleball players had a 30 per cent decrease in depression symptoms after playing three times per week for six months.

Not only is the sport a great gateway into racquet sports, it can also offer an opportunity for players of other sports like tennis and squash to ease themselves back into the game post injury. But make no mistake, while pickleball can be a perfect sport for some gentle exercise, it can also ignite the competitive fire within to get the heart pumping with a hotly contested match. Even, or perhaps especially, between friends.

Players can take to the court at Dubai Sports World this summer, where indoor pickleball courts can be booked via the Dubai Sports World App until September 10. Courts are available for hire from 8am until midnight from Monday to Sunday for AED 150 per hour.

The 2023 edition of DSW is bigger than ever before, with 40 courts and pitches available for hire across 300,000 square feet of air-conditioned, easy access facilities at DWTC. In addition to pickleball, there is a dedicated gym area, complete with Matrix cardio and strength training equipment, and an enclosed private fitness studio with a capacity for 40 people.

Dubai Sports World is the UAE’s biggest and most varied indoor sporting venue offering everyone the opportunity to focus on their wellbeing, all summer long.

Dubai Sports World takes place daily at Za’abeel Halls 2-6 from 8am to 12 midnight.  Dedicated parking is accessible from Al Mustaqbal Street and visitors can also park at Za’abeel parking and the Exhibition Street parking. To secure your spot on the courts, make your reservations now at www.dubaisportsworld.ae or by using the free Dubai Sports World smartphone app available on App Store and Google Play. Visitors can also enjoy gym packages with full flexibility from pay-as-you-go to full seasonal membership.

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