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Pickleball: More than just a sport

So, what does Pickleball mean to me? All these adventures I've gone on have allowed me to reframe and rethink something that started as a cross-training for my tennis. Pickleball has now become something that I've learned to appreciate and enjoy as a sport to the point where I'm competing regionally in the circuit and trying to constantly better my craft. It went from being like a hobby to something that's pretty much taken up most of my time during exercise and what I'm keeping fit to do on a much higher level. However, recent weeks of experiences have caused me to see Pickleball even more differently from what I used to see it as.

What I mean by that is that when I go deeper into how important or how valuable a sport like Pickleball is for the community at large and people in general, a few things hit me quite hard and gave me a new way to think about how Pickleball can be moved forward, especially in Asia.

Firstly, I realise that Pickleball can be really easy to pick up. Within a few hours, you'll see newbies hit the ball over rallies while having a good laugh. Not many sports I know have this capacity to teach people a pathway to success. Hence, this sport seems to be more than just a sport but almost as a culture of showing people that success is gained with the right choices and mindset. Moreover, progress isn't only achieved after numerous years but can happen within a couple of hours.

I think that this initial pathway to success is what sets Pickleball so far apart from all other sports. Many of you who played racquet sports can relate to this as I used to play tennis, and it took me years before I even dreamt about playing my first tournament. When we look at Pickleball as culture, we see its ability to change mindsets and the opportunities it gives to physically inactive individuals to be active while having fun with their friends and family. It is a holistic solution to a problem that many organisations face, which is to get people to move more, de-stress, and mingle with one another. Strangely enough, this sport allows all of these different aspects to fall into place together.

Earlier today, I was playing a social game where everyone was having a good time laughing and joking while playing. Other times, I would travel for competitions where I'd be in a very different mode and mental zone. In tennis, all of these would've taken many years before formulating and making some sense for an athlete. I think for the community at large, Pickleball allows for unification. It allows people to come together and understand each other's mindsets better so that we may empathise with one another.

In this digital age, Pickleball transcends digital boundaries to preserve physical interaction for relationships to be forged and social skills to be honed. It allows for a cultural exchange when we play with players from other countries and different backgrounds as we unite people under a common cause and a common source of joy and enjoyment. Seeing someone smile as they're saying something, reading one's body language, and understanding where someone is coming from are skills that have diminished in recent years with the advancement of digital technology.

From so many perspectives, the growth of Pickleball has contributed to industrial growth and the rise of new businesses and communities to come together to celebrate and support one another. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I was part of a national team comprising people aged between 19 and 60. How many sports allow for the exchange of mental models between a youth and someone who has experienced so much in life? It is a game changer and more than just a sport but a lifestyle and platform for cultural exchange, ultimately allowing us to become better and more human when interacting with others.

I'll be sharing more thoughts on this in my blog post.

Until then, onward!


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