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Is Pickleball the new Padel?

Places to Play Pickleball in South Africa

Pickleball or Padel? Which do you prefer? 

In recent years, Pickleball has become increasingly popular, gaining traction in various countries worldwide, including South Africa. Often compared to Padel – another booming racket sport – Pickleball is carving out its niche and attracting a growing number of enthusiasts. Find some of our suggested Pickleball courts around South Africa here and give the fast growing trend a try. 

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The Rise of Pickleball

Pickleball, a hybrid of tennis, badminton and table tennis, was invented in the United States in the 1960s already. In essence, it is played on a smaller court with a perforated plastic ball and paddles. One key aspect of the sport’s appeal lies in its accessibility to players of all skill levels. Notably, it’s easy to learn, and it is both social and recreational.

Pickleball is experiencing a surge in popularity in South Africa specifically, akin to what Padel experienced a few years ago. This growth is driven by the sport’s inclusivity and the efforts of local pickleball associations and clubs to promote the game. Consequently, more people are discovering and participating in this engaging sport.

Comparison with Padel

Padel, which originated in Mexico in the late 1960s, combines elements of tennis and squash. It is played on an enclosed court slightly smaller than a tennis court, using a solid paddle and a depressurised tennis ball. One of Padel’s unique features is the use of walls, which adds a strategic dimension to the game.

While both sports share similarities in their social aspects and the use of paddles, Pickleball is distinguished by its simpler rules and lower physical demands. Consequently, this makes it particularly attractive to a broader demographic. Padel, on the other hand, tends to appeal to those who enjoy a more intense and strategic workout.

Comparison with Padel

Natie Smit, Chairman of the Tennis Club in Rietondale and ambassador for Pickleball, says what he loves about this sport is that it brings families together. He often sees families with from small children to teenagers all coming together to play Pickleball. “I want to focus my energy next year to visit smaller towns and townships where tennis courts have been abandoned to try and encourage people to turn these courts into Pickleball grounds,” Natie explains. He is very passionate about how social and fun it is to play Pickleball is.

Places to Play Pickleball in South Africa

As Pickleball gains momentum, more facilities are opening up across South Africa. Here are some notable places where you can play:

  1. Pickleball SA (Johannesburg): This organisation is at the forefront of promoting Pickleball in South Africa. They offer regular play sessions and coaching and they also host tournaments. Their courts are located in various clubs and community centres around Johannesburg.
  2. George Pickleball Club (George): Situated in the Western Cape, this club provides a friendly environment for both beginners and experienced players alike. They hold regular social games and clinics to help new players learn the sport.
  3. Cape Town Pickleball (Cape Town): This club is part of a growing network of Pickleball enthusiasts in the Western Cape. They organise games at different venues across the city and offer coaching for all skill levels.
  4. Durban Pickleball Club (Durban): Undoubtedly a vibrant community for Pickleball players in KwaZulu-Natal, they have regular playing sessions and are actively involved in promoting the sport in the region.
  5. Pretoria Pickleball Association (Pretoria): This association is dedicated to developing Pickleball in Pretoria. They provide opportunities for competitive play as well as social games, catering to a wide range of players.
  6. Rietondale Pickleball Club: This club wants to encourage people from all walks of life to join in on the fun of the game.

Pickleball is making waves in South Africa, much like its predecessor, Padel. Its growth can be attributed to its accessibility, simplicity and the dedicated efforts of local clubs and associations. With more and more places to play and an increasing number of people picking up the paddles, Pickleball is set to become a staple in the South African sports scene.

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete looking for a new challenge or someone seeking a fun, social way to stay active, Pickleball offers something for everyone.

Check out one of the local clubs, join a game and experience firsthand why it is becoming the new favourite in South Africa.

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