Pickleball Is Better Than Tennis…For 10 And Under
By Jon Coles
Pickleball Is Better Than Tennis…for 10 and under. As a former NCAA Division I tennis player, NCAA Division II Regional Coach of the Year, current high school coach, and father to an all-state tennis player, I believe pickleball is better than tennis for kids 10 and under, and here’s why:
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Made for kids:
Pickleball is one of the few athletic games that was created specifically for kids. Unlike a tennis ball, the wiffleball naturally bounces to a child’s natural strike zone, making it much easier to hit than a much bouncier tennis ball. The paddle is lightweight and smaller than a tennis racquet, making it much easier to maneuver.
The culture of pickleball is kind, fun, inclusive, and social. Pickleballers take great delight in teaching and sharing the game with others. Because of the small court, social interactions are common in between points and games.
Playing for Fun!
Tennis, because of the financial investment, can be very bitter and unsportsmanlike among kids. Until pickleball becomes ultra-competitive like the rest of the youth sports landscape, it is played for the pure joy and fun of it.
Pickleball can be played in parking lots, driveways, and even streets. Nets can be homemade or portable nets can be purchased at a low price. Wooden paddles and the wiffleball are also reasonably priced and don’t easily break down like other sports equipment.
Pickleball, like golf, is a sport that can be played with and against all ages. Grandparents will be excited and eager to share physical activity with their grandchildren. And better yet, kids will be excited to teach their grandparents a sport that is popular in their age demographic.
Tennis is hard on the body. Youth tennis players are known for having rotator cuff injuries and even back issues at a young age. Almost all pickleball shots are hit below the shoulders with less movement.
Life Long Game:
Traditional sports like baseball, football, soccer, and even basketball are difficult to play later in life. As demonstrated in hundreds of retirement communities across the country, pickleball can be played well into your seventies and even eighties.
There has been extensive research on the benefits of “free play” and allowing kids to play without parental structure, pressure, and involvement. Because kids won’t be playing for ratings, medals, or trophies, sports parents won’t have the investment, stress, and anxiety that competitive tennis brings.