Long Beach, California – An increasing number of people are interested of playing or have already started playing pickleball, a game described as a cross between tennis, ping-pong and badminton. Rising interest among people is not only on a local basis, but it’s nationwide.
According to a recent data provided by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, nearly 5 million Americans have been playing this interesting game in 2021. Per the same report, pickleball has seen a 40% surge in players in just two years, from 2019 to 2021.
What comes as a problem for many Long Beach residents who are interested in trying and playing pickleball is the lack of dedicated courts in the area. Currently, there is only pickleball court in Long Beach and this is court is located at Bayshore Park in Belmont Shore. Lack of designated courts is most certainly the biggest issue in making this sport even more popular. The cities of Cerritos and Seal Beach already have dozens of designated pickleball courts and that’s the reason why people living in these two cities are way more interested in pickleball compared to Long Beach residents.
Pickleball is becoming more and more popular mostly because of its easy-to-learn rules and friendly competition. It’s worth noting that despite having no dedicated courts, increasing number of Long Beach residents have started playing pickleball in past years.
The interest in pickleball resulted with creating several teams in the city, but the players have to go to the neighboring cities to play pickleball or simply use bring their own nets to set up on tennis courts, which has led to run-ins with tennis players at parks like Somerset Park in the California Heights neighborhood.
The city of Long Beach, however, acknowledged the need of adding more pickleball courts and the city last week released the “Pickleball Master Plan”. The plan should explore the possibilities of adding new dedicated courts or convert underutilized tennis courts to pickleball courts.
The director of Parks, Recreation and Marine, Brent Dennis, confirmed that the proposed plan will be considered later this year as the city officials expect the number of pickleball players to grow in the upcoming period.