Psychological Connection to Pickleball: Assessing Motives and Participation in Older Adults

J Aging Phys Act. 2018 Oct 24;1-6. doi: 10.1123/japa.2017-0381. Online ahead of print.


The purpose of this study was to examine psychological connection to the sport of pickleball by investigating active older adults (55 years and older) in relation to behavioral involvement and motives for participation. Data were collected via an online survey of a representative sample of active pickleball players in North Carolina (N = 690). The psychological continuum model (PCM) categorized players into four distinct connection levels of Awareness, Attraction, Attachment, and Allegiance. Participants on each PCM level were analyzed based on playing length, play frequency, and motivations for participation (Competition, Diversion, Fitness, Skill Mastery, and Socialization). Results showed respondents at the highest PCM levels have played pickleball for at least 1 year and play at least 10 times per month. Although Fitness and Socialization were reported as the most important motives for the entire sample, Competition and Skill Mastery were viewed significantly higher for respondents at higher PCM levels.

Keywords: commitment; consumer behavior; motivations; senior sport.