The rise of pickleball and padel

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What pickleball has done is that there is there is a pro tour that pays pros to play and have video coverage and commentary. They make money from amateur entry fees and brand sponsorships (pickleball, pickleball health related products, and now some bigger non-pickleball brands like Bubly). There is also now a team based event several times a year with big name athletes buying into teams like Kevin Durant and Nick Kyrgios

Basically, there would need to be a super rich/powerful person that has the initial capital to start a "pro" league like they have in europe or japan. Then once a critical mass of interest is created, get brand sponsorships for advertising to perpetually support it

Currently, there is just one off table tennis tournaments and nationals. Some actually do have decent prize money, but there is no established "pro tour" or "team league" that would be necessary to take table tennis' popularity to the next level.

 
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From what I have gathered. Pickel ball was started in Washington State where I live. Yes, I have seen the popularity spread. I have considered playing. It seems that it appeals to older folks, like me, that aren't as mobile as we use to be. The advantage I see is that one doesn't need to spend a lot on a paddle. However, marketing people have corrupted this sport too since a normal wooden paddle is not good enough for the "pros".
There are places nearby me to play pickle ball. As long as my TT partners are willing to play, I will play TT, but I am old, my practice partners are old too. They can't always play TT for one reason or another. Pickel ball may be my only option to get some exercise. When you are older, playing anything until you drop is the best option.
 
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From what I have gathered. Pickel ball was started in Washington State where I live. Yes, I have seen the popularity spread. I have considered playing. It seems that it appeals to older folks, like me, that aren't as mobile as we use to be. The advantage I see is that one doesn't need to spend a lot on a paddle. However, marketing people have corrupted this sport too since a normal wooden paddle is not good enough for the "pros".
There are places nearby me to play pickle ball. As long as my TT partners are willing to play, I will play TT, but I am old, my practice partners are old too. They can't always play TT for one reason or another. Pickel ball may be my only option to get some exercise. When you are older, playing anything until you drop is the best option.
Pickleball is the most physical friendly tennis derivative, but it is still pretty hard on the body, especially the shoulder and ankles/knees once you get to the intermediate level. Table tennis at a similar skill level is much easier on the body comparatively. Of course, the level of physical ability for both sports depends on the level of play you do. Both sports are old people friendly, with a significant number of old players in both sports around where I live.

Wooden paddles are objectively worse than the current paddle style, honeycomb plastic. However, the decent honeycomb plastic paddles are currently ridiculously overpriced for what they cost to manufacture. Good thing is if you are nice to the paddle you can use it indefinitely.

 
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So we have some tables in our local shopping mall. Some lady came up to me and pal who were hitting. she started talking about how she plays pickle ball. I made the "mistake" of saying that table tennis has a lot more spin involved than pickle ball and she got really defensive, telling me how much spin there is in pickleball. i shrugged it off lol.
 
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Table tennis has 4 problems:

1) If you do not start playing seriously from a young age, reaching a decent (2600) playing level is impossible. Even at 2600 a serious professional will make you look like an idiot when you play them.

2) The sport is too expensive. $25/hr for table time. $100/hr for coaching. $150/per month for rubber (if you are serious you will change rubber every 4 days which means $1050/month). I know a family who budgets $200k a year just for their table tennis activities..

3) Unless the players are very closely matched, practicing/playing is somewhat pointless and not a lot of fun. The better you get, the harder it is to find people to train with.

4) Even if you have an unlimited budget to help you achieve a decent playing level, unless you are a star from a very few select countries, you will not be able to survive on playing alone and you will end up coaching to make a living.

There is a saying "Checkers sells more than Chess" and that is why pickleball will probably do better than table tennis. The general population wants something fun to do. When an adult shows up at a club and plays Smitty Harimoto who screams every point and beats them 11-0, 11-0 and 11-0, they probably will find something else to do with their leisure time. Some people really love the challenge of table tennis and that is probably why most of the people here play. That is part of the appeal. However, the general public wants something easier and more fun to do when they have free time.
 
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Table tennis has 4 problems:

1) If you do not start playing seriously from a young age, reaching a decent (2600) playing level is impossible. Even at 2600 a serious professional will make you look like an idiot when you play them.

2) The sport is too expensive. $25/hr for table time. $100/hr for coaching. $150/per month for rubber (if you are serious you will change rubber every 4 days which means $1050/month). I know a family who budgets $200k a year just for their table tennis activities..

3) Unless the players are very closely matched, practicing/playing is somewhat pointless and not a lot of fun. The better you get, the harder it is to find people to train with.

4) Even if you have an unlimited budget to help you achieve a decent playing level, unless you are a star from a very few select countries, you will not be able to survive on playing alone and you will end up coaching to make a living.

There is a saying "Checkers sells more than Chess" and that is why pickleball will probably do better than table tennis. The general population wants something fun to do. When an adult shows up at a club and plays Smitty Harimoto who screams every point and beats them 11-0, 11-0 and 11-0, they probably will find something else to do with their leisure time. Some people really love the challenge of table tennis and that is probably why most of the people here play. That is part of the appeal. However, the general public wants something easier and more fun to do when they have free time.

1. This may be a personal problem that is personally frustrating, but this is not unique to TT compared to other highly developed sports, and it is not something that I think affects the popularity of TT.

2. Maybe in some places this is an issue (like the new fangled PingPod in NYC), but in Dallas for example there are clubs you can play for $5-15 one day or $50-100 per month. Coaching is expensive in any sport.

You don't need to spend $150 per month on rubber. Option one is to get a durable rubber like G-1 or C-1 which will last months. Or buy chinese, which is $5-$20 per rubber. Once you get to 2500 level, you can get sponsored and start getting free equipment (potentially, depends on other factors).

3. True with many other sports too, and the solution is to be creative. First, teach them to feed you multiball. When they get to intermediate level teach them to block for you. That opens a huge array of drills. In exchange you can teach them. If they are serious and you are a good teacher they can hopefully increase there level close enough to eventually at least do warm up and drill practice with you. The problem with less players at high level is very true in pickleball too.

4. Yes, and true for most other sports too.

5. Not quite, in my experience table tennis is wildly popular in a casual setting. Also, if this was true then hardbat TT would be much more popular and developed in the US. Pickleball is mostly popular for other reasons (social aspect, tennis derivative, unique gameplay, etc.), not just because it is easy to pickup or play.
 
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