Pickleball Pioneers: The Rise of a New Sport in Philadelphia

Pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in America, is making a significant impact in Philadelphia. This article will explore the rise of this exciting sport in the city, highlighting the key players and the community they’ve built.

The Pickleball Phenomenon

Pickleball, a sport that combines elements of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton, has been around since 1965. However, it has recently exploded into the mainstream, with over 36 million people playing across the U.S. in 2022. The number of players has nearly double the number from the previous year. This surge in popularity has led to the development of new courts in the Philadelphia area, including Malvern’s Bounce, the region’s first dedicated indoor facility.

“Pickleball is not just a sport; it’s a community that is open to new people, new ideas, and new friends.” – Braden Keith, Philadelphia Pickleball Group Founder

The Faces of Philly’s Pickleball Scene

Three individuals are leading the way in Philadelphia’s pickleball scene: Braden Keith, Hannah Rose Nussbaum, and Kimberly Kusumoto.

Braden Keith: The Community Builder

Braden Keith, owner of SwimSwam.com, maintains nine pickleball groups across the U.S., including a local group called “Philadelphia Pickleball.” The group, which has over 2.1k members, serves as a platform for enthusiasts to share tips, promote local clinics, and find playing partners.

Hannah Rose Nussbaum: The Beginner’s Guide

Hannah Rose Nussbaum, a program manager at Comcast, runs a Facebook group for pickleball beginners in the Greater Philly area. The group, created in November 2021, has over 800 members and serves as a resource for beginners to find places to play. It also includes tips, and promotes upcoming tournaments.

Kimberly Kusumoto: The Women’s Advocate

Kimberly Kusumoto, a mom from Havertown, created “Girls Just Wanna Dink,” a Facebook group advocating for women in pickleball. The group encourages social engagement and community building among its 190+ members.

The Future of Pickleball in Philadelphia

Despite some resistance due to the sport’s loud popping sound and the physical toll it can take on players, pickleball is spreading rapidly through Philly. The sport’s growth is not just about the game itself, but also about the community it fosters. As Braden Keith puts it, pickleball helps people realize that Philly is a friendly place, open to new people, ideas, and friends.

For more information about pickleball and its rise in Philadelphia, check out the full article.

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