Pickleball growth: one town’s history

Pickleball growth has been amazing, and there are many reasons for the appeal. For a real world example, my own experience illustrates a trend and a phenomena playing out across the country. In a period of 14 months, in one small town in Connecticut, a pickleball community blossomed…out of nowhere.  From 2 guys playing singles to a growing community of over 100 players participating in various Pickleball and social events.  This is one specific case history, sound familiar?

Pickleball growth timeline…happened fast!

Pickleball Growth Statistics

November 2021
2 guys asked the local YMCA to allow them to bring their own net and play at 6:00 am twice a week.  (Y had 2 courts lined out on gym floor)

January 2022
8-10 regulars emerge and a round robin rotation system gets put in place.  A custom built paddle holder appears to regulate round robin process

March 2022
Group grows to 16-20, a third day is added.  Team Reach app is used to organize and communicate amongst the group. 

More players spurs beginner program, addition of courts and plan for outdoor re-purposing.

June 2022
Group grows to 30+, a fourth day is added (with extended hours).

August 2022
Group grows to 50, a fifth day is added (with extended hours)  Group lobbies ‘Y’ for more courts and to refurbish outdoor facility.

December 2022
A sixth day is added,  players rent courts at a local tennis facility and have a holiday Pickle & Party event.  Players further lobby YMCA for more courts and for outdoor tennis court renovation for pickle.  Total participants top 100.

January 2023
a volunteer crew begins ‘taping’ a 3rd court 3x per week to accommodate demand.  Beginner clinics are instituted drawing dozens more players.  Playing time becomes tough at Y so several advanced groups split off and pay for court time at local tennis facility. Finally 3 courts are permanently lined.

March 2023
A committee of ‘Y’ pickleball players is formed to present a plan to the YMCA management team. The plan primarily addresses the refurbishment of 2 outdoor tennis courts and converting them to 5 or 6 pickleball courts.

This timeline is one real world example of how a Pickleball community grew organically because of it’s unique appeal. Demand for court time in Mystic, Connecticut has outstripped supply creating a classic pickleball supply and demand issue. players are now scrambling to find courts…..and beginning to pay. Summer will open up some public courts as more and more are being adapted for pickle, but pickleball growth and participation shows no signs of slowing.

Author: Bill

Passionate pickler, entrepreneur, experienced fitness industry executive, startup specialist, business model consultant, mentor and advisor. Contact me to brainstorm, discuss or commiserate! .

3 thoughts on “Pickleball growth: one town’s history”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: