March 10, 2023
Written by Kailey Bandara, Intramural Sports Coordinator
In the Intramural Sports department, we hand out surveys at the conclusion of every tournament and league because we truly want to hear feedback from the participants. We try to provide the best possible service every year, and it is only by hearing from the students that we can make effective changes. While some that have competed may have been annoyed by having to take these surveys, they might not be complaining when they see the changes or additions we make from semester to semester.
Increased Interest in Pickleball
While we wish we could offer any sport you could think of, realistically that is just not possible. However, when we continued to see on our surveys that students were asking for pickleball, we were shocked due to it having the stereotype of being a “senior sport” only. Much to our surprise, pickleball is USA’s fastest-growing sport. In fact, in the last two-year period, it has seen a growth rate of 39.3% while the number of players playing pickleball has nearly doubled in the last seven years. In addition to all of that, perhaps the most relevant statistic is that 27.8% of players are in the age bracket of 18-34, which is the highest among all age groups. Seeing these statistics help us understand why adding this sport was becoming a trend among our Intramural participants.
Implementing Pickleball Request
At the beginning of the Fall 2022 semester, our Intramural calendar was already booked, but we kept pickleball in the back of our minds. Fortunately, the LaHaye Recreation and Fitness Center was able to tape pickleball courts on the gym flooring and provided the necessary equipment for students to play during open gym times last semester. Throughout most of the open rec time, the courts were occupied with people playing, which gave us a good indicator that this sport could be successful. When planning out the Spring 2023 Intramural calendar, we decided to include a pickleball tournament to see if we would get a good turnout and to gauge whether this was going to become a staple on our calendar for future semesters.
Looking to the Future
While we now have a pickleball tournament under our belt, we are optimistic that this could be a sport we continue to have Intramural representation for. Our hope is that somewhere down the line, we can build actual pickleball courts to have as our own facility and to run a league of its own. This is just one area in which we have listened to student feedback and have done what we can to implement positive changes. So, the next time you receive an Intramural survey, feel free to share your honest feedback and ideas and you never know what might be added in the future!
If you or your friends are interested in signing up for future tournaments or leagues, you can sign up on IMLeagues.com or visit the Liberty Campus Recreation website for more information.