As you undoubtedly know, we’re a pretty pro-pickleball establishment. But we’re not above fair criticism of the sport and its community, especially if that criticism comes from actual members of said community.
A post on the Pickleball Forum Facebook group recently caught our attention. It asked members to list their single largest complaint they have about playing pickleball – indoors or outdoors.
We thought it might be useful to conglomerate the most common words used in the responses to this post to gain an overall understanding of the pain points in pickleball today:
Thankfully, it seems there are more technical (read: solvable) issues in the sport than social ones.
Things like ball texture, wind screening, differing rating systems, and, of course, the lack of dedicated courts were among the most common complaints.
All of these issues can, and likely will, be sorted out with time as more money continues to pour into pickleball.
But, as you might expect, “drama from other players” did somehow find its way into the mix. That's a tricky issue.
As is another problem that didn’t make it into the word cloud (because everyone used different words to describe it): sandbagging at the tournament level.
As one user put it, “Folks who say they are 4.0 but drop down to 3.5 to win a medal. If you say you’re a whatever, play at that level. Don't sandbag.”
More players sound off on pickleball issues
We asked our newsletter subscribers (btw: why aren't YOU subscribed? Click here to stay up to date) to describe the biggest issue or problem they have with playing pickleball, either indoors or outdoors.
Here's what the word cloud looked like for their responses:
These are some of the most common issues players have with the sport:
- Sandbagging at tournaments, playing below your skill level just to win (aka medal-chasing)
- Wind (we're not sure why so many people listed this as their number one complaint, it's kind of out of our control!)
- Mid-level players not trying hard enough to maintain control, opting to slam every time just because they can (one response read, "Finding players who can consistently sustain a rally 10+ times over the net")
- A lack of standards regarding construction of courts, nets, paddles, etc. (more on that here)
- Need more courts to support programmed activities, such as leagues, round robins, king of the court, clinics, etc.
- Not enough courts (obviously); more specifically, a lack of well-lit courts