pickleballEngland are a Not-for-Profit organisation set up to promote and encourage in every way at local, national and international level the sport of pickleball pickleballEngland

In recent years, pickleball has surged in popularity, transforming from a little-known pastime to a widely recognised sport. The number of players in the United States has nearly doubled over the past three years, reaching approximately five million. A 2022 research study by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association estimated that there are currently over 4.8 million "picklers" in the United States, marking a 40% increase between 2019 and 2020 and solidifying pickleball as the fastest-growing sport in America.

What Is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a unique paddle game created in 1995 on Bainbridge Island, blending ping pong, badminton, and tennis elements. The game is easy to learn and can be played almost anywhere, making it accessible to many players. Its low-impact nature has made it particularly popular among retirees, with more than half of regular players over 55 and over a third of players aged 65 or older.

The social aspect of pickleball is a significant draw. Doubles is the most common format, with two players on each side, encouraging close interaction. Other popular formats include open play sessions and round-robin tournaments, which allow players to socialise and meet numerous new partners. The community-driven nature of the sport has led to calls for pickleball to be recognised as an Olympic sport. Former NFL player Drew Brees recently invested in one of the 12 teams in the newly established Major League Pickleball, highlighting the sport's growing prominence.

The rapid growth of pickleball has not gone unnoticed by business owners, who are seizing the opportunity to capitalise on this expanding market. The pickleball sector attracts millions of dollars in investment, with new businesses emerging weekly. Entrepreneurs are entering the market unprecedentedly, recognising the potential for profit and community engagement.

Pickleball as a Side Hustle

One such entrepreneur is Bahman Mody, a 33-year-old tennis player and full-time medical technical researcher who has turned his passion for pickleball into a profitable side hustle. Mody first tried pickleball around five years ago and began playing regularly two years ago. He soon started teaching his friends how to play and considered expanding his audience.

Mody discovered TeachMe.To, an "in-person leisure learning marketplace" that connects students with teachers for private lessons. After seeing an Instagram post about the platform in April, Mody tried it. Within a week, he secured his first client and quickly built a roster of students. Mody teaches pickleball seven days a week, alongside tennis and golf lessons. Pickleball remains his most popular sport, attracting students ranging from 70-year-olds to teenage beginners.

"Several clients are learning pickleball for the first time in retirement, with varying levels of skill and athletic ability and goals for competitiveness," Mody explained.

Mody teaches 15 to 25 students weekly in Los Angeles, earning between $40 and $100 per hour. His monthly income from teaching pickleball ranges from $2,000 to $5,000. For those interested in starting their own side business through TeachMe.To, Mody advises: "Just dive in. If you've got the skills and the time, you'll get it going quite quickly. It's a really great platform."

The Future of Pickleball

While pickleball is still only a quarter the size of tennis, the sport is on track to reach the same level of popularity. As the sport continues to grow, now is an opportune time for entrepreneurs to invest and innovate within the pickleball market. This sector's early stages of business development offer significant potential for those willing to capitalise on the sport's rapid rise.