Pickleball has exploded in popularity across the country especially in New York City where 14 pickleball courts recently opened in Central Park's woman rink here's a look at woman rank before the courts opened and here it is now just in time for National pickleball month it's being called the largest pickleball insulation in the Northeast.

Joining us now is Carl Schmitz he is the managing director of facilities and Equipment standards at the USA pickleball Association um so great to have you uh so for those who may just be waking up to what the sport is what is pickleball and how is it different from other racket ball sports like tennis Racquetball and I.

Guess maybe badminton yeah well the the Sport's been around for well over 50 years now as most people describe it it's a combination of elements of tennis badminton and ping pong it's played on a badminton size Court over a net fits slightly lower than a tennis net um it's played with a plastic ball and a.

Solid paddle as you can see there in the image and uh it is I think one of the reasons why it's become so popular is because it's got a very low barrier of Entry I do like to describe the sport um you know in that it's it's got the dynamic range of golf the the Precision of the putting green the financially.

Approach and the power off the tee uh then raise it to an aerobic level of exercise so it's um it's become popular for a number of reasons uh it's very social and again that that low barrier of Entry has has meant many people have been able to enjoy it um the difference between other you know.

Other uh Sports such as tennis uh badminton and Racquetball um it doesn't take uh it doesn't take a lot of uh physical prowess to get started um you can play it you know at your own pace uh regardless of your Fitness level But as time goes as you get in better and better shape and uh discover you.

Know there are layers of strategy to the sport uh it becomes a little bit like sweaty chess and uh and so it's it continues to give you a uh an increasing bar uh to it for you for a focus on Improvement um so it's um yeah I think those are the key drivers behind its growth uh and again.

You know the difference is uh one other difference between some of the other uh racket Sports is that um those Sports you know they they are a very high speed in most cases uh this sport can be played you know low and slow uh but you know again once you're comfortable with it it can be sped up and uh in fact you've got you know.

Synapse searing shootouts that you'll see if you've ever watched any of the pro level play girl how much has the popularity popularity of it with some some big names I live down south and you have Drew Brees who everybody in New Orleans and people know he's a Super Bowl winning quarterback folks like that are jumping into the sport and saying.

Hey this is great how much does that help raise their profile it's been here 50 years but 50 years they were talking about it on national news yeah it's uh the you know the last uh 12 months have been uh staggering in terms of the number of names that have come into the sport uh Lebron James Tom Brady uh just last weekend you know we saw.

Mcenroe and Pakistan uh Chang and um uh and uh it was a it was a fantastic event it brought a lot of visibility to the sport um it just seems like uh you know the media flurry around this has been uh staggering here the last 18 months or so um and then even more so here the last two uh last year so a lot of celebrities.

And then a lot of athletes professional athletes getting into it as well well the other thing I guess that's become probably a bit of a challenge here in New York City as you probably know is there are people who are complaining about these new pickleball courts and and in fact the people who play Pickleball because what you have now is.

Adults I don't see it's interesting I don't see a lot of kids playing pickleball I see a lot of adults older people you know at least when I mean adults I mean people above the age of 18 and but when you get like you know 40 and 50 year olds uh entitled New Yorkers uh who think that they have a right to do whatever it is that they want and.

Even push younger children who are playing sports out of the courts or off the you know wherever they play these I mean these are the things that people are dealing with right now and you're starting to hear from neighborhood associations and it's getting very very heated um what can is there anything the league.

Can do to address these concerns that people have for the fans the people who don't play Pickleball sure I mean there there needs to be an equitable approach to providing recreational resources and so municipalities are working hard to try to find that balance I mean if they do have available budgets in space clearly.

Being able to build um purpose-built uh facilities to address this Grove is the ideal method in the absence of that though they do have to look at how do we balance the existing assets uh you know within a recreational environment to address address all constituents right so there is a an.

Equitable approach that ideally will help address both the growth as well as those that exist and are still looking for support within playgrounds and and Tennis facilities and other existing uh recreational facilities I mean listen municipalities are getting involved too down south where I live there's you know something before a city council where.

They want to turn two tennis courts into multiple pickleball courts and of course they get the government involved because the popularity of it is growing you mentioned the last 12 months for you guys has been wild how do you plan to to meet with the demands I mean is there going to be a code of ethics that you would see for golfer or tennis involved.

In that to make it more inviting but also to have more rules uh well I think the rule you know the rule base that we have today is fairly uh IT addresses you know all aspects of the you know the ethics of the sport and and um I think the what really needs to happen is as municipalities are trying to evaluate you know how do we address.

It um there's essentially three different approaches that we've seen uh one is a Greenfield approach uh uh municipalities like Wichita um are are bringing to uh uh you know bringing to a vote uh which has been approved uh three-phase facility which has been purpose-built for pickleball.

Over the next couple of years um I just got a a note from the deputy mayor of Evansville Indiana uh they after a year of work uh working with them uh they finally pulled the trigger on a new facility which will basically be an expansion on a rackets facility they've already got uh 12 Tennis Courts they'll be adding 16 pickleball courts.

With Room to Grow another H afterwards and then the last piece are conversions or uh you know rehabbing uh existing facilities or existing assets that may not be used like they were before there may have been disused tennis courts or basketball courts which are being converted to pickleball as well Carl can I just ask you before we go I mean um.

How do you prevent the sport from dying out because Americans are fickle and we like the new bright shiny thing and I you know it it's been I I just remember as a kid Ultimate Frisbee then uh rugby golf yeah right uh uh you know Bocce was a thing for a while uh what's the thing croquette like you know when we were little kids we played a lot horse shoes.

All things that Americans really get into for a period of time and then after a little while you're like ah you know football baseball basketball how do you prevent I guess over saturation because what we're talking about right now is like the game is hot and everybody's playing and everybody's interested in it but how do you prevent it from sort of.

Like you know dying out essentially well it's a great question I come from the racquetball world uh you know during and spoom years and then it's taper um what what we're trying to do we're launching programs where we're looking at Grassroots growth so there's several academic programs and and programs targeted for youth which is vital to the.

Growth of any sport um clearly you know the Aging population moving into the sport provides uh you know an Ever Ever renewing uh uh group of people playing however you know we're looking at a much lower uh lower age uh demographic that's starting to play you mentioned youth uh you know younger adults that are starting to play it's.

One of our fastest growing sectors um but uh for for children uh we believe there's a number of new programs that we're launching that will help continue uh continue to feed the uh the lower demographic age groups and and continue the sports growth over time thank you very much for your time event thanks for having me on.

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the United States. Carl Schmits, managing director of Facilities Development and Equipment Standards at the USA Pickleball Association, joined CBS News to discuss what’s behind its popularity and how they plan to keep up with rising demand.

#sports #pickleball

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