Pickleball continues to gain popularity at BYU and in Provo

Leer en español: El pickleball continúa adquiriendo popularidad en BYU y Provo

What felt like an overnight sensation is now one of BYU’s most in-demand classes.

The sport of pickleball became widely popular in recent years but skyrocketed after the pandemic left people looking for socially-distanced outdoor activities.

“Pickleball is super versatile so anybody can play it,” Provo resident Jeffri Pa said. “It is a lot of fun playing with older folks who have more experience in the game.”

Pickleball is a game resembling tennis in which players hit a plastic ball over a modified tennis net with paddles. It has a small learning curve and can be played at a variety of skill levels.

BYU had a pickleball club that grew into a SWELL (Student Wellness) class. Now the class is doubling its sections to meet the demand of students.

“Pickleball seemed like it appeared out of nowhere in the last few years. It got super trendy and everyone was doing it,” BYU student Rachel Riley said. “I’ve never played and had no idea what (the sport) was. I signed up for the class so I could know what was going on when I played with my friends.”

Students in the SWELL class at BYU play a game of pickleball. The department had to double the number of sections offered for the class to meet student demand. (Hannah Miner)

BYU currently has two sections of the SWELL class but plans to add two more during Winter Semester. There will be a total of four sections for students to choose from. The class can be found under SWELL 105 on the registration website.

During Winter Semester, the SWELL class will be held in the indoor tennis courts located south of the Smith Fieldhouse.

“I like this class because it is a break from my other classes. I can come and play pickleball rather than sitting and doing statistics all day,” said David Teuscher, a SWELL pickleball class member.  

The love for the sport goes beyond BYU campus. Currently, Provo has four pickleball leagues and three pickleball networks.

There are 18 professional pickleball courts throughout Provo. The Provo Recreational Center and many local schools are now adding pickleball court lines on their tennis and basketball courts.

“I’m a big fan of pickleball. I think the main thing is that the community is awesome,” BYU student Abbie Calhoun said. “Everybody is competitive. I tend to get a little too competitive with sports. But everybody is so nice which helps me calm down a bit and just have fun with it. I really appreciate it.”

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