8 Reasons Why My Friend Hates Pickleball – (I Actually Can’t Argue On Some)


If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Details

Hate is a strong word and it carries some serious weight. I think of “hate crime” or “hate speech” – because of that I use the term in moderation. I personally don’t “hate” any sport, hobby or pastime.

I think it’s fine for people to enjoy one sport over another and even try to argue their point of view on why one sport is more interesting or challenging than the other.  I have friends from the UK that can argue endlessly on the pros and cons of Baseball vs Cricket or American Football vs European Football (Soccer).  Their arguments can get heated at times but I’ve never heard them get angry or use the word “hate”.

When it comes to talking about pickleball things can get a little intense.  One of the most obvious topics is the problem of pickleball noise.

Since we published that post a few years ago it’s gotten quite a few comments. A few of which I decided not to publish. I’m not a fan of censorship but some of the comments were so full of expletives and anger that I thought it didn’t add value to the conversation – they were, well – hateful.

But that’s only one of the complaints my friend had about the sport.  Here are the rest. I’m guessing some of you know what’s coming but you may be surprised by some of them and even the most die-hard pickleball fans may find themselves agreeing, at least partially with some of these.

Why Some People Hate Pickleball

It’s Not Tennis

This argument is my friend’s biggest complaint. As a long-term tennis player, he just can’t get over the fact that they are not the same. The debate is never-ending. As more people cross over from tennis to pickleball I don’t see this one fading anytime soon, if anything it’s likely to be an even more conversation. On one level I get what he’s saying or at least why he compares them since I also played tennis for decades and used to play with him.

It’s true that pickleball shares some of its roots with tennis and almost all the professional pickleball players we’ve seen come from a competitive tennis background – but you don’t hear them complaining!

Both are played on a similar court (oftentimes the sharing the same court – another complaint below).  However, most racket (or paddle) sports have close similarities so that’s where the argument doesn’t really stand up.

Over the years I’ve played table tennis, racquetball, tennis, paddle-ball and pickleball (as well as quick stints of squash and “pádel ” while in Spain and “Kadima” on the beach).

I just enjoy playing them, sure they have similarities but it doesn’t detract from the other sport. I don’t mull around complaining about how the racquetball court isn’t as big as a tennis court or the way a ball bounces compared to another. I just take advantage of the opportunity to play and enjoy it while I can.

The Name

This one I get. I mean it’s not worth getting in a tizzy over – but you have to admit it’s a pretty ridiculous name!

I let this go years ago and by now I’ve adopted the name wholeheartedly. I even get a kick out of saying the name – especially when I’m in a non-pickleball crowd. The look on people’s faces is priceless, it’s not uncommon for them to think I’m pulling their leg – they can’t believe it’s really called that.

I do think that if it had a more “serious” sounding name that people would take it ….well, more seriously. I still think that it’s an uphill battle for the sport, whether you’re trying to convince your parks and rec department to invest millions or the IOC to make pickleball the next Olympic sport.

While there is still debate on where the name pickleball came from at this point in the game I’d say it’s a done deal. It’s here to stay so we might as well embrace it.

The Tape

ifloortape Yellow Permanent Reflective Outdoor Basketball/Pickleball Court Marking Tape for Asphalt, Pavement, and Concrete (2 Inches x 150 Feet per Roll)
Yellow Permanent Basketball/Pickleball Court Tape

This goes back to #1

Tennis

Due to the growing popularity of pickleball and the lack of dedicated pickleball courts in some areas, players are having to mark the tennis courts with the pickleball lines.

The problem – some tennis players hate the lines, they find them confusing.  Anyone who plays indoor pickleball – or any recreational sports in a YMCA, church gym, college intramural court or similar facility- has probably had the experience.

The multitude of colored lines on the floor can be really confusing. The same is true if you’re trying to play basketball on a court that has parallel lines for volleyball, indoor soccer or other sports. It’s easy to in a split moment to second-guess if a shot is going in or out because our confused by the lines.

We’ve talked about this before – it’s relatively easy to make a home pickleball court with some chalk or tape

That’s not a problem if you’re playing in your driveway but if you’re sharing a court with tennis players, it might be a better solution to use temporary markers like these on Amazon that can easily be removed. They’re not perfect, still a potential tripping hazard and not a full outline of the perimeter but still a decent middle-of-the-road compromise for tennis and pickleball players.

Pickleball Is Taking Over!

Pickleball is growing at phenomenal rates. While some people thought it was a fad even years ago when it was first called the “fastest-growing sport” in the US, it really hasn’t slowed down. Even the worldwide pandemic has not been able to stop the growth and it’s projected to have double-digit growth through the next decade! Participation continues to expand at a roughly 10% annual growth rate.

With that growth, many cities are converting somewhat idle tennis courts to pickleball and many residential communities are adding pickleball courts to their properties. All this to the delight of some and the dismay of others. I can understand why avid tennis players or non-pickleball-playing residents of a community might not want to complete for court time or deal with extra traffic or potentially higher HOAs to help construct and maintain the courts.

Check out this list of top pickleball cities (for court density) – as others have commented there- it’s just one possible way to measure popularity but still an interesting list.

Pickleball Isn’t A Workout

My friend’s wife was a marathon runner. At 61 while getting to her car on an icy parking lot she slipped, had a nasty fall and ended up with a broken hip. She was told by her orthopedic surgeon that she should never run now with the prosthetic hip. Try pickleball I said!

She’s tried it and found it enjoyable, she’s athletic and has good hand-eye coordination. She still plays and has fun but for her, it’s just not a workout. She still misses that “runner’s high”, she needs to sweat and get a hit of endorphins.  I get it.

There are definitely health benefits to pickleball and I think it can be a good workout for a lot of people.

You get moving, it works your balance and coordination. If you play outdoors you get some fresh air and a good dose of vitamin D.

But even Dr. Baggish of Harvard says. “The game is best as a complement to your exercise regimen, not a replacement for aerobic activity.”

I would say there’s a possible caveat – singles pickleball, especially at the competitive level – you have to hustle to cover the same amount of square footage by yourself.

The Scoring

Pickleball scoring is confusing. I don’t even have a counter-argument for him.

Ageism

This one goes both ways. What I mean by that is that at my age I see the discrimination on both ends of the spectrum.

On the one side, there are people much younger than me that don’t want to get into the sport because they think it’s only for “old people”. 

On the other side, there are some people that do not want to be associated with the sport because it makes them “feel old”. 

Part of this might just be my friend’s struggle with getting older – this is a real challenge in life and something we all eventually have to confront.

The stereotype is still prevalent – many people associate pickleball with “seniors“, “snowbirds” in FL, and retirement communities.

While the numbers did back that up to some point, years ago the majority of players were 65+.

But as the sport continues to grow, the demographics are starting to balance out across all age groups and lose the stigma of being tied to only one age group.

The Noise!

We started with this one, so I’ll end with it also. This is one of the biggest complaints that haters have. It is a real problem that communities are facing. I won’t go into detail here since we have a whole post about it on the site.

10 thoughts on “8 Reasons Why My Friend Hates Pickleball – (I Actually Can’t Argue On Some)”

  1. Matt, regarding sound, there is something interesting to share. A tennis ball hitting a tennis racquet is actually louder than a pickleball hitting a paddle. That’s a fact. But there are more details in this story. Go to YouTube.com and do a search with these words: Sound – Pickleball vs Tennis. Thanks for the interesting article and other blogs!

    Reply
  2. I am finding that after a period of time, the super competitive skilled people try to eliminate those who are more fun-oriented. or “newbies”……they will manipulate whatever system a group is using to “next to play”……..Sometimes if’s not possible for the folks who are more fun-oriented to separate themselves from those folks.
    So if you’re one of those “too good to play with you” people………………..make room in your world for the “less fortunate”

    Reply
  3. The name really is “public enemy #1”. It kept me from playing 4 years sooner. As soon as I heard “geezer ball” I was out n I was 50.
    As for a “workout”? SERIOUSLY!?
    if you play with ANY vigor and live in the southwest, I’ve found NOTHING that comes close.
    Maybe only basketball gets your heart pumping more, and it’s the “start stop” action that really makes a difference..
    Toss the rest of the list as “sour grapes”…
    Pickleball is NOT Tennis..
    Get over it.

    Reply
  4. Hi Matt. Loved your article.
    I believe we should make rules that improve the quality of the game. Not rules that make a game that is already whacky….worse.
    For example, who was the wayward soul who came up with the idea of allowing a person to hit the net on the serve?!!! Worst rule ever in the history of mankind. I HATE that rule. Haven’t seen anyone return it yet. And don’t expect to. In every sport that has a net, hitting it on the serve is a fault. Period. As it should be. And what is the excuse of the other people on the committee that agreed to this horrible idea???
    Someone told me the rule is only experimental and could be reversed next year. I certainly hope so.

    Reply
  5. Another rule that would vastly increase the quality of the game would be to have the offensive players make the call, NOT the defenders. Why? Two reasons. First off, the team that hits the ball has a better angle and look at the ball 90% of the time. Yup, they do. Better look down the middle, better look down the sidelines, and better look at the kitchen line. That leaves only the baseline. Ok, fine. Let the receiving team call the baseline shots. No problem.
    How many times have your good shots been called out? And how many times have you seen long or wide shots called in? And almost invariably that one missed call completely changes the nature of the game. Point lost or side out.
    I am not suggesting that players are cheating. They just aren’t getting the best look at the ball!!!!
    In addition, most partners will not reverse a call or “get it right” because any disagreement will result in a lost point or fault. Even though they know their partner for it wrong. This poor rule encourages a lack of ethics. I’ve seen it time and again. It’s cheating, literally. I say get the call right. If people need to vote on it then do so. If no one can agree then replay it. Simple. The rule as it stands is not good for pickleball. Nor would it be good for any other sport for that matter. No other sport has such a silly rule. Why should pickleball?

    Reply
  6. The game is slow and clumsy and will never be watchable for a tennis player.
    I won’t play it as construed, instead I play ‘house rules’.

    1. No two bounce rule on serve. Serve must land but volley on return is fine.
    2. No one up, one back. All points start behind service line. Double fault and point penalty to
    cross before ball lands.
    3. No let on serve. Play if touches the net.
    4. Ball touching line is in.
    5. Volley in kitchen is ok when moving forward. Stationary volley in kitchen is penalty point.
    6. Winner on return is receiver point and switches service.

    Reply

Leave a Comment