The Steady Emergence of Pickleball and 15 Other Unique Sports You Should Try With the Kids

The Steady Emergence of Pickleball and 15 Other Unique Sports You Should Try With the Kids

Pickleball is a sport you’ve likely heard or seen flooding the airwaves recently – everyone is talking about and some of the biggest names in sports are jumping aboard the bandwagon. It’s a sport some people know from their physical education class days, but many are clueless. 

The sport was invented in 1965 by three dads – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum – who noticed their children growing bored of the everyday summer activities. So, they did as any good parent would do – find something different, unique, and exciting for them to play and enjoy. 

Just like that, pickleball was officially born. It’s a game that combines everything you like about tennis, badminton, and ping pong. Using a large paddle plastic ball with holes in it (similar to a wiffleball), you play a game similar to tennis on a badminton-sized court with singles or doubles. 

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Let’s Discover Some Other Unique Sports Like Pickleball

The Steady Emergence of Pickleball and 15 Other Unique Sports You Should Try With the Kids
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It all started as a backyard sport enjoyed by local families, but now it has grown to international status and is beloved by many all over the world. In fact, some of today’s biggest athletes are doing their part in marketing the sport and growing it to new heights – it’s all the rage today.

For example, LeBron James has already invested in a Major League Pickleball team – along with Draymond Green and Kevin Love. Tom Brady has also invested in a new team with tennis star Kim Clijsters. Most recently, Kevin Durant announced his newest expansion team. 

As the game continues to evolve, we’ll likely see more star athletes invest in the sport. For those that are looking for something new to play with your kids, we definitely suggest giving pickleball a try. If you’re looking for other unique sports to enjoy with the kids, we have some suggestions!

15. Quidditch

Alright, I know what you’re thinking – Quidditch isn’t a real sport, it’s a fictional sport from Harry Potter. Technically yes, but you’ll be delighted to learn that people have found a way to bring the sport into reality. In fact, it draws inspiration from rugby, dodgeball, basketball, and flag football. 

The game is similar to the one you see in Harry Potter. Players must hold a broomstick between their legs at all times, while using a slightly-deflated volleyball as the quaffle, a slightly-deflated dodgeball for the bulger, and a flag football belt as the snitch. Hoops are also set up as goals. 

14. Frisbee Golf

Frisbee golf, also known as disc golf, is popular in some communities and is often featured in parks – where you can play disc golf with your kids for free. The sport is similar to golf, but you throw a frisbee at a target, also known as a basket. It’s a lot harder than it looks, trust me. 

The sport dates back to the early 1900s, with the first game being recorded in Canada in 1927. In the 1970s, a man by the name of Ed Headrick helped modernize the sport – he’s also credited as the inventor of the modern-day frisbee. There are nearly 8,000 courses in the US.

13. Ultimate Frisbee

Disc golf isn’t the only unique sport that features a frisbee. Ultimate frisbee is another emerging sport that is often featured on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays when someone makes an incredible TD or INT. The sport is very similar to football, but players use a frisbee instead of a football. 

The sport dates back to the mid-1960s when Bob Fein, Richard Jacobson, Robert Marblestone, Steve Ward, Fred Hoxie, and Gordon Murray invented the concept of it. A few years later, the game was popularized by Joel Silver, Jonny Hines, and Buzzy Hellring. Today, it’s everywhere. 

12. Korfball

Korfball is a sport you might recognize if you’ve ever been to a park in the early 2000s – though no one ever really knew what it was. It’s a Dutch sport that has similarities to netball and basketball, where teams of eight players attempt to throw a ball into a netless basket for points.

The basket is about 11.5 feet from the ground and players aren’t allowed to block, tackle, hold, or kick the ball. It was invented by a Dutch school teacher and was designed to prevent physical dominance from controlling the game. Players also aren’t allowed to dribble, but can pass it. 

11. Handball

Handball is an Olympic sport that a lot of people look forward to every four years, but it doesn’t get the same amount of year-round attention that other sports do – which is sad. It’s everything you like about soccer, but on a much smaller court and you use your hands instead of your feet.

Variations of handball date back to Ancient Greece, but it wasn’t modernized until the early 1900s when official rules were created. Today, there’s an International Handball Federation (IHF) that oversees international handball competition. It’s popular in Denmark and France.

10. Futsal

If you’re looking for a unique sport that draws similarities to football (soccer), then futsal is the sport for you. It’s a lot like playing five-on-five indoor soccer, but with a much smaller, harder, and less-bouncy ball. The court is more like an ice hockey rink with boards – no ice, of course.

The sport dates back to the 1930s when a man by the name of Juan Carlos Ceriani invented it for his local YMCAs in Uruguay. His goal was to invent something similar to soccer that could be played indoors and outdoors. It’s everything you like about soccer, but much more fast-paced.

9. Table Tennis

Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is a sport everyone knows about already – yet most people don’t treat it like an actual sport. Instead, many people view it as a recreational activity that you play at parties or get-togethers. Nonetheless, it’s been an Olympic sport since 1988. 

Table tennis is similar to the game of tennis, but is played on a table and with a paddle and small plastic ball. The object of the game is to hit the ball over the net and onto your opponent’s side of the table. Players go back and forth until someone misses the table or whiffs the ball.

8. Water Polo

Water polo is another sport that doesn’t get as much recognition as it should. It’s similar to handball, but is played in the water. Players must throw the ball into the goal while floating in a deep pool – players can’t touch the bottom of the pool. There are two teams of seven players. 

The sport takes an extreme amount of core strength and stamina – it’s not easy to keep yourself afloat for long periods of time. Not only that, but to catch and throw a ball at the same time. If your children enjoy the pool and want to challenge themselves, give water polo a try. 

7. Ringette

Ringette is a unique sport that many people have never heard of before. It resembles the game of hockey, but players use the butt end of a stick to pass around a rubber ring – opposed to a puck. Like hockey, it’s played on ice skates and the object of the game is to score goals. 

Today, it’s more popular among women and is extremely popular in Canada – where hockey was practically born. It’s also a popular sport in Finland. There’s an international championship called the World Ringette Championships (WRC), which takes place every single year. 

6. Curling

Curling is another Olympic sport that receives a lot of attention when the Winter Olympics roll around. Unfortunately, it receives little attention on a regular basis – despite being one of the most beloved winter sports of all-time. Well, maybe you and your kids can help change that!

The game is similar to shuffleboard, but on ice. Players slide stones on a sheet of ice, aiming for the center of a circle. The team that gets the closest to the center is awarded points, depending on how many stones they get. It’s a delicate game that can grow to be quite the intense match.

5. Badminton

Badminton is one of the many racket sports that are popular in physical education or gym class, but most people don’t take it seriously as a sport – despite it being in the Olympics. The goal of the game is to hit the shuttlecock onto the opposing player’s half of the court without a return. 

Each player only has one try to get the shuttlecock over the net, much like the game of tennis. It was invented in British India in the mid-19th century and has become extremely popular in Asia and Europe. The International Badminton Federation, the governing body, was founded in 1934. 

4. Archery

While some people might view archery as more of a skill, opposed to a sport, it is in the Olympics – which counts as a sport in my book. Although primarily used as a way of life and method of hunting in primal times, archery has been turned into an international competition.

Teams of archers compete in a test of accuracy and speed as they attempt to shoot an arrow at a target from a specified distance. It was originally featured in the 1900 Olympics and has been a fixture in the Olympics since 1972 – you can also consider shooting sports as an alternative.

3. Racquetball

Racquetball is a racket sport that takes place on an indoor court about 40 feet by 20 feet. Players use a tennis-like racket to hit a small rubber ball. Unlike tennis and badminton, players hit the ball at a wall instead of over a net. The opposing player must return the ball off the wall. 

It’s a fast-paced game that will tire you out in a heartbeat. You have to be on your toes at all times – it’s one of those games where the ball can be in front of you one moment, and then hitting you in the back of the head a second later. It’ll help improve your child’s reflexes. 

2. Squash

Squash is a sport extremely similar to racquetball, but it uses a narrower racket to hit a smaller and slower ball on a smaller court. If you thought you needed good reflexes for racquetball, then prepare to be shocked at the intense nature of squash – it’ll leave you panting and sweating.

You don’t see many people playing squash today, especially in the United States – where courts are limited. Nonetheless, it’s an easy sport to get hooked on and can be an easy one to start if you have a court in your community. Just buy yourself a racket, a ball, and find someone to play!

1. Padel

Padel is a game that resembles tennis, squash, racquetball, and pickleball. It’s played on a much smaller court than tennis and has walls – like in racquetball and squash. Instead of a stringed racket, players use a paddle that more resembles ping pong or pickleball. 

When hitting the ball, players have to keep the ball below the waistline. The sport was originally invented in Mexico in the late-1960s and grew in popularity in Latin America and Europe. The scoring is identical to that of tennis – so if you’re familiar with that sport, it’ll be easy to learn.

Unique Sports Offer a Unique Environment for the Kids

Pickleball, as well as the other sports listed above, might not be as popular as other, more traditional sports – hockey, basketball, football, soccer, and baseball – but that doesn’t mean they can’t evolve into something much bigger. That’s what we’re seeing today with pickleball.

These sports offer a unique environment for children to enjoy and learn from. Like any other sport, it’ll keep them active and social, but will also teach them how to be competitive, face adversity, overcome challenges, and much more. Kids have so much to gain from sports. 

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If you’re interested in getting your child involved in pickleball, check your local community to see if there are any leagues accepting new players. If not, that might be a sign to start your own and get other parents involved – who knows, you could be starting something big in your hometown.

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