Youth Summer Slam

Are you ready to discover the secret weapon for keeping kids active, happy, and healthy?

Spoiler alert: it’s pickleball!

While pickleball might be the darling of retirees, pickleball is also making waves with the younger crowd. This fast-paced, ridiculously fun game is perfect for young players looking to boost their health and well-being.

Keep reading to discover why pickleball is the ultimate game-changer for getting teens out of the house this summer (and all year round!)—and no, the kids don’t need to love pickles to play!

Pickleball is fantastic for youth!

Youth Pickleball is Growing Rapidly

It’s not just adults and older folk who are getting hooked on pickleball anymore; kids and teens are picking up paddles in droves, and that’s such a good thing!

Here’s why the sport is gaining serious momentum among the younger crowd:

  • Fastest Growth Rate: According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), players under 24 had the fastest growth rate of 21% from 2020 to 2021. That’s a lot of new young paddlers! (source)
  • Youth Participation Soars: In 2021, the 18-34 age group made up 18.5% of total pickleball participants, making it the second-largest age bracket after those 55 and older. (source)
  • Younger Players on the Rise: The average age of pickleball players dropped from 41 in 2020 to 38.1 in 2021. This means more young people are hitting the courts! (source)
  • Largest Demographic in 2023: By 2023, a whopping 28.8% of pickleball players in the US were between 18 and 34 years old, making this the largest age demographic in the sport. Who knew pickleball could be this trendy? (source)
  • Massive Overall Participation: The Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) reported that 36.5 million people played at least once in 2023. That’s a lot of dinks and smashes, with many of them coming from youth and young adults! (source)

The bottom line is that pickleball is all about accessibility, the social aspect, and a lower barrier to entry compared to other sports. Plus, more schools and community programs are jumping on the pickleball bandwagon every day, boosting youth participation even more.

Physical Health Benefits of Pickleball for Youth

Kids must be active to be healthy, not glued to their phones or staring at a TV.

One of the most significant advantages of pickleball is its positive impact on cardiovascular health. The game provides an intense cardio workout, which helps lower risk factors like high cholesterol and blood pressure.

Plus, unlike many high-impact sports, pickleball is gentle on growing joints and muscles, making it less likely for someone to get injured (but injuries do occur…) and ideal for youth of all abilities. Thus, everyone can participate and benefit.

Additionally, pickleball enhances several key physical skills through its dynamic movements:

  • Balance and Coordination: Improves balance and hand-eye coordination.
  • Agility and Flexibility: Enhances agility and flexibility, making players more adept at quick movements.
  • Strength and Stamina: Builds strength and stamina, including heart and lung health, through its cardio-intensive nature.

Pickleball’s physical health benefits make it an excellent choice for a sport for youth to get involved in, contributing to their overall physical fitness and development.

The great thing about pickleball is that it’s fantastic for people of all ages to enjoy!

IPOP and BC Lung recently hosted the BC Lung First Annual IPOP Classic on June 22, 2024, to raise funds for BC Lung’s health initiatives and promote the health benefits of playing pickleball. People of all ages and skill levels came out for a fun day of competition and raising money for a good cause!

To learn more about pickleball’s health benefits, check out our blog on what we have planned for the future and the cool video below.

Mental Health Benefits of Pickleball for Youth

Pickleball isn’t just good for the muscles, heart, and lungs.

The mental health benefits of pickleball are equally impressive. Playing the game can significantly decrease stress levels and improve coping abilities. The fast-paced nature of pickleball requires quick decision-making, which enhances focus and concentration. This mental stimulation benefits young minds, helping them stay sharp and attentive.

Additionally, pickleball is a highly social sport that facilitates making friends and forming social connections, which is crucial for youth development. The interactive, team-based nature of the game encourages camaraderie and teamwork. The physical activity in pickleball releases endorphins, boosting mood and promoting overall mental well-being.

A study of 51 junior pickleball players aged 8-18 found that playing more frequently was associated with greater perceived mental health benefits. Pickleball’s social aspects and inclusivity make it appealing to youth who are not drawn to traditional sports. Even novice players can experience these benefits, highlighting the sport’s universal appeal.

Here are the key mental health benefits of pickleball for youth:

  • Stress Reduction: Decreases stress levels and improves coping abilities.
  • Enhanced Focus and Concentration: Requires quick decision-making, which enhances focus and concentration.
  • Social Connections: Facilitates making friends and forming social connections.
  • Mood Improvement: Releases endorphins, boosting mood and promoting overall mental well-being.

Pickleball offers a supportive and engaging environment that fosters mental health and social development, making it an excellent choice for youth.

Inclusivity and Accessibility

For our money, one of the great things about pickleball is its inclusivity. Not every teen can play hockey, football, basketball, etc., but pickleball is different. Shoes, a paddle, a ball, and a net, and you are ready to go. You don’t have to be a star athlete or even in particularly good shape to enjoy it!

Pickleball is accessible to all skill levels, from beginners to advanced players, and the people who play usually offer a welcoming environment to everyone, including youth, of all backgrounds and abilities. This inclusivity ensures that everyone can enjoy and benefit from the game.

Here are the key aspects of pickleball’s inclusivity and accessibility:

  • All Skill Levels: Pickleball is designed to be easy to learn, allowing beginners to pick it up quickly while also offering enough complexity to challenge advanced players. This makes it ideal for a diverse group of participants (source: Renown Health).
  • Low-Impact Exercise: The sport is low-impact, which means it’s gentle on the joints and suitable for young players who are still growing. This reduces the risk of injury compared to high-impact sports (source: Genesis HealthCare System).
  • Social Interaction: Pickleball’s team-based nature promotes social interaction, helping youth build friendships and develop teamwork skills. This social aspect particularly appeals to those who may not be drawn to traditional sports (source: Pickleball Magazine).
  • Mental Health Benefits: Pickleball’s inclusive nature also contributes to mental well-being. By providing a supportive and engaging environment, the sport helps decrease stress levels, improve focus, and boost overall mood (source: Taylor & Francis Online).

Introducing pickleball as often as possible is recommended to maximize its potential benefits for young people. Even novice players can experience the joy and advantages of the game, highlighting its universal appeal.

Pickleball offers a unique blend of inclusivity and accessibility, making it an excellent choice for youth looking for a fun, engaging, and health-promoting activity.


Pickleball offers a unique blend of inclusivity, accessibility, and numerous physical and mental health benefits, making it an excellent choice for youth. The advantages are vast, from enhancing cardiovascular health and balance to reducing stress and fostering social connections.

Whether your child is a seasoned player or new to the game, pickleball provides a supportive and engaging environment for all.

And what better way to get youngsters to play pickleball than in a youth pickleball tournament?

Youth Summer Slam Pickleball Tournament

The Youth Summer Slam will be a fantastic opportunity for teens (18 and under, four age groups) to test their pickleball skills, play with new friends, and get their competitive juices flowing.

The tournament is on July 18th, 2024, at the South Surrey Pickleball Courts.

Don’t miss out on this fun and memorable experience! To learn more and register, click here.

Join us in promoting a healthy, active lifestyle for our younger generation through the exciting world of pickleball.

And spread the word and help us make this tournament successful for all participants.

IPOP is pleased and excited to announce a partnership with the BC Lung Foundation!

With the help of president and CEO Chris Lam, IPOP and the BC Lung team is on a mission to let the world know about the benefits of pickleball.

From the inception of the Inclusive Place of Pickleball, one thing stands above all else: our passion is more than just a wiffle ball flying over a net and operating pickleball facilities. We want to be different and “be a part of” the development and promotion of our beautiful game globally.

And to do that, we must change how pickleball is viewed in the mainstream media.

If you haven’t noticed, pickleball has been getting a bad rap in the news this past year from noise complaints, injuries costing insurance companies and even a hunger strike! As avid pickleball lovers and proponents of its health benefits (and positivity!), this trend in the press lately is a little concerning. And something we at IPOP want to change. Now, the news always reports on the negative rather than the positive. However, the more severe problem for pickleball is the misrepresentation of facts — especially when big money is involved from insurance companies and the legal communities (with injuries and lawsuits).

More Positive Scientific Data Is Needed

One main reason we don’t read about the positives is that more data is needed to prove the health impacts that pickleball has. As mentioned, news outlets sensationalize numbers and data — especially negative data. Journalists only have the “bad” numbers right now. While pickleball has been around since 1965, it has only become wildly popular recently. Anyone who plays pickleball can feel the difference it has made in our lives, but there isn’t much research to corroborate this effect.

We think that those of us in the pickleball community should do our part to try to balance the negative media stories with more positive press publications backed by verified scientific research, and that’s what IPOP is on a mission to do. In other words, we need to prove how pickleball makes us all feel with good ole fashion FACTS!

To change the narrative and perception of pickleball more positively in the news, there needs to be more research into pickleball benefits.

With this in mind, IPOP’s quest to verify the health benefits with scientific data begins.

A Passionate CEO

Business partners are necessary, especially when you want to make lasting changes. However, for a company like IPOP, we wanted the proper organization to grow with and also to work with a group of individuals who believe in pickleball as much as we do.

Enter Chris Lam, president and CEO of BC Lung. When we first met at an IPOP tour, it seemed like our two companies, not to mention us personally, were a match made in heaven — certainly better than any dating site I’ve ever been on (just in case my ex reads this, I’m joking!)!

Chris and I immediately hit it off — and not just because of our names. He told me he recently started playing pickleball and loves it so much that he’s already entered several local tournaments! Perfect match, right? Yes, and here’s why…

We have one strict rule at IPOP regarding anyone we directly work with. Whether you’re an investor, a sponsor, a graphic designer, answering phones, sweeping the floor, etc., you must do one thing: Play pickleball!

Chris gets a big green happy checkmark in this box — making IPOP’s decision to partner with BC Lung much easier.

Just a small note here: We were approached and interviewed by several societies and foundations, but most of the decision-makers were barely familiar with pickleball and did not understand the benefits, which is totally logical. After all, we believe one has to play the game, even only once, to experience the healthy mental, physical, and spiritual benefits. So, to meet a passionate, pickled CEO like Chris is remarkable.

Every Journey Starts With Understanding Where You’re Going…

After Chris and I chatted, we met with the rest of the BC Lung team to discuss alignment and our mutual goals. It was an open and honest conversation that ended up in our agreed partnership.

BC Lung understood that IPOP wished to be more than just an organization that raises money for them and publicly proclaims good respiratory health through pickleball (we do this anyway!). They realize that IPOP’s more profound mission is to change the mainstream perception of pickleball through research.

At IPOP, we dream of a day when doctors prescribe pickleball to their patients before or instead of medications (did you know that in the US, doctors prescribe nature hikes already?) and be a part of an overall health plan — including mental health and all of the other preventable diseases — for people everywhere.

All we needed was a partner in the medical field to get started on that dream.

We found that partner in BC Lung!

Small Steps Begin Epic Journeys…

We have already started planning our first fundraiser (June 2024) and have begun discussions with one of Canada’s top pulmonary researchers, UBC’s Dr. Pat Camp. The goal is to have a small study begin later this year. The following statement is from our Memorandum of Understanding with BC Lung, and we at IPOP are very proud to participate in such a lofty and ambitious goal with our new partner.

Our Mutual Goal
This partnership will have many mutual benefits, but having a mutual goal is of the utmost importance. Our mutual goal is to prove that pickleball is the pathway to a new standard of treatment in recovering patients from respiratory illnesses. This has to be accomplished with a triple-phase clinical trial and published in an academic journal by 2027.

Big dreams begin with a single step. A rebirth of health and well-being can often inspire that first step. For our pickleball community to grow and grow up, we need to take these steps, not alone but with partners like BC Lung.

Stay tuned for more information on the upcoming fundraiser in June…


What a truly fantastic weekend it was, fully immersed in the world of Pickleball. I wholeheartedly advocate for extending the celebration beyond just a day; how about National Pickleball Month? The joy this sport brings is worth the extended festivities!

Golden Ears volunteers with Steve Deakin

By starting the day with a deep sense of gratitude for discovering this wonderful game, it’s challenging to put into words just how profound Pickleball is to me. It’s not just a sport; it’s a spiritual experience, enriching my life in countless ways, often leaving me speechless.

When describing Pickleball, I often say the game itself is the glue that binds like-minded individuals together, emphasizing the components of Friendship, Fitness, and, most importantly, Fun!

Recently, I had the incredible opportunity to share the beauty of Pickleball through an interview with our national broadcaster, CBC, on a local show, North by North-West. We gathered at Keswick Park during Beginner’s Night, where I, along with other passionate Pickleball enthusiasts, taught Jeremy how to play, during the middle of the interview.  My goal was to present Pickleball from a different perspective, one of diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism. It’s a shining example of Canadian multiculturalism, so much so that I’d suggest using pictures of Pickleball courts from across our great nation in Canadian government immigration brochures and textbooks. It fills me with pride to be Canadian.

Hanging with the President of the BPA, Karen Watson

How can I repay the gift of Pickleball in my life? The answer lies in paying it forward and giving back in as many ways as I can. This commitment led me to Squint Lake Pickleball Courts, where my local association, the Burnaby Pickleball Association hosts beginner’s morning pickleball. This event is an opportunity for new players who have already been through our Learn to Play program to connect and experience the game at their level. It’s a lot of fun and especially fulfilling because I was part of the teaching team for the L2P program, and now I get to watch these players grow into the game.

I even had the privilege of playing with them, squeezing in a few games before heading off to another local community hosting their annual Pickleball tournament, the Golden Ears Summer Classic. A highlight of the event was witnessing Canada’s highest-ranked pro player, Steve Deakin, accept the Lifetime Member award for his dedicated service to this club. It was a great day, full of Pickleball passion.

Steve is awarded a lifetime membership

Sunday followed a similar pattern for me—skills and drills in the morning with a small group of eager beavers. This time allows me to work on the technical aspects of the game and focus on improving specific aspects, like my drive or dink shots. I recall a Pickleball podcast featuring a pro who mentioned the importance of incorporating “practice” time, skills, and drills into his schedule to break through plateaus. I see this in my own game, especially as I spend a significant amount of time playing with beginners, which makes scheduling practice time a crucial part of my game.

Waiting to play on Burnaby’s newest courts on National Pickleball Day! amount of time playing with beginners, which makes scheduling practice time a crucial part of my game.

Sunday morning practice sets the right headspace before I head to the third municipality in my story, New Westminster, where I teach a beginner’s basics class. It’s the ideal way to spend my Sunday afternoon, sharing the foundations of the game with eager learners. This experience is something I wish I had when I started, and it’s why I pursued the Level One Coaching certificate with Pickleball Canada.

As you can see, my National Pickleball Day stretched into a weekend, and for this, I’m truly grateful. The joy and connections Pickleball brings into my life are immeasurable, making this extended celebration all the more meaningful.


Beginner’s group at Squint Lake

Here come the teenagers!