Pickleball Paradise, Santa Barbara

Pickleball Paradise, Santa Barbara

  • Village Properties
  • 01/11/24
Experiencing an astounding surge of nearly 159% in popularity since 2020, and boasting a global player base exceeding 4.8 million enthusiasts, pickleball has solidified its status as the United States' most rapidly expanding sport. Santa Barbara is no stranger to this pickleball phenomenon, as the craze has spread throughout the community, finding its place in public parks and even private homes and exclusive clubs.

Photo from Santa Barbara PickleBall By Tom Rennie/TomsAriels.com

What Is It?

Dating all the way back to 1965, Pickleball was invented by three fathers who wanted to add some excitement to their children’s usual summer-time activities. Combining the elements of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton, they were able to create a new sport that can be played by casual hobbyists and serious athletes alike. From playing with your family to getting involved with competitive leagues, Pickleball players range in all ages- adding to its popularity. It is easy to learn, fun, and can be as fast-moving as the players desire. As for how the game got its name, there are many theories but the most popular traces back to its invention, claiming that one of the creators had a dog named Pickles who loved to chase the ball as they played. 

Why The Sudden Rise in Popularity?

As many Pickleball players, or picklers for short,  have discovered, there are many benefits to playing the game that attribute to its exponential growth. For one thing, the sport is revered as an easier, more enjoyable way to get active. Studies have shown that people who play Pickleball at least three hours a week experience cardiorespiratory benefits, as well as an increase to their agility, coordination, muscle strength, and function. Pickleball is even associated with lower levels of depression. 

Engaging in Pickleball not only offers Picklers physical and mental benefits but also earns recognition as an exceptional social pursuit. Whether individuals find themselves on a court, engaging in casual pickup games during their leisure hours, or extend invitations to friends and family for spirited matches on an impromptu chalk-outlined course in their driveway, Pickleball presents an invaluable chance to foster connections within one's community. Moreover, its accessibility lends itself to intergenerational play, where grandparents can joyfully partake alongside their grandchildren, and parents can bond with their young adults through the sport.

How To Play?

At its fundamental core, the game is as follows: one pickler serves the ball underhand over the net and diagonally into the opponent’s court. Then, the ball is hit back and forth until a player misses. Notably, there is a 7 foot zone on each side of the court called the “kitchen,” which prohibits volleys in the zone. Points can only be scored by the serving team, and each game is played until a team reaches 11 points. For more information on the rules and mechanics of the game, check out USA Pickleball

Where to Play?

If you’re looking for a place to try your hand at the game of Pickleball, it won’t take long to find a court in the Santa Barbara area. You can easily reserve a court at the Santa Barbara Municipal Tennis Courts, where there are plenty of courts available for a $5 fee, or the Goleta Valley Community Center. You may even see our very own Villagers out on the courts! 


Erin Burns, Village Properties Relocation Director


Julie Barnes, Village Properties Agent 

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