Why Does Pickleball Need Its Own Apparel Line?

Why Does Pickleball Need Its Own Apparel Line?

As a sport, pickleball requires very little in terms of start-up costs. You can find paddles starting at $20, a dozen pickleballs cost about the same and courts are now popping up all over the country. So why does this sport need a line of clothing specifically for pickleball players? Isn’t pickleball apparel the same as tennis apparel?

We’re glad you asked, because that is part of the origin story of dink.pro – a Texas-based start-up company that specializes in pickleball shirts, tanks, hoodies and jackets for both men and women pickleball players. When first becoming enthusiasts of the sport in 2020, the creators of dink.pro, Karen and John Whitaker, noticed a growing number of “picklers” on the courts, but no real “look” that identified with the sport. An easy choice for many people was to wear tennis apparel, workout gear, yoga pants, jogging shorts – everything, BUT pickleball apparel. The Whitakers decided that needed to change.

So why create something else just for pickleball? Here are four reasons dink.pro came to life:

  1. It’s NOT tennis – Despite the similarities between the two racquet sports, tennis and pickleball are fundamentally different in technique, strategy and unique characteristics. While some skill sets like hand-eye coordination and court positioning transfer quite nicely, most tennis players learn quickly the games are unique.
  2. Pickleball has a personality – The social aspect of pickleball is different from any other sport. Because the playing surface is ⅓ the size of a regulation tennis court, players are often within a few feet of each other. In recreational play, you’ll notice the overall camaraderie, laughter and good-natured ribbing among the players.
  3. Pickleball has its own language – This is a sport with a “kitchen,” where “bangers” and “dinkers” get into extended points, attempting to establish position in the “NVZ” and survive a “firefight.” Not to mention special shots like the Erne (“Ernie”), the ATP or the “Bert.” The pickleball vocabulary is still developing as new shots, strategies and techniques are implemented.
  4. Pickleball is the fastest growing sport on the globe – Pickleball literally exploded during the COVID pandemic as people craved activity that was accessible. Basketball courts, tennis courts, parking lots, and neighborhood streets were all converted to makeshift pickleball courts as lockdowns prohibited other activities. The population of picklers increased 40% in just two years and shows no signs of slowing. Major League Pickleball has launched a campaign, the “40 by 30 Project” with the goal of 40 million pickleball players by the year 2030. In 2018 there were approximately TWO million players, so the growth is exponential.

John is fond of saying “Life is too short to wear re-purposed tennis gear”, as he and Karen continue to be a part of the developing uniqueness of pickleball. Get acquainted with Karen and John Whitaker if you haven’t already and share with them your passion for pickleball. Meanwhile, sport your dink.pro apparel whenever you are out & about (dink.pro offers “apres-pickle” outfits as well) and announce to the world that you are part of the pickler nation!

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