Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Pickleball, often described as a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, is America’s fastest-growing sport. An estimated 4.8 million players enjoyed the game in 2021, 40% greater than in 2019 (Sports & Fitness Industry [SFIA], 2022). The game is especially popular with older players when played recreationally (for fun rather than prepare for or participate in competitions) in a doubles format (four players per court) (USA Pickleball Association [USAPA], 2022). This study identifies the degree adults age 50 and older experience flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) while playing recreational doubles pickleball.

The Long Dispositional Flow Scale – Physical (DFS-2) was used to determine if and to what degree players experience flow(Jackson et al., 2010). The DFS-2 consists of 36 questions and is designed to define and collect a respondent’s self-reported recollection of measure of the flow experience in the nine dimensions of flow in quantitative terms relative to an activity in general, rather than specific moment or event. Two hundred thirty-one recreational doubles pickleball players (111 males, 119 females, 1 no response) age 50 and older completed the DFS-2 questionnaire, answered five player characteristics, and responded to five demographic questions via an online survey. Two-sample t-tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA), Pearson correlation coefficients, and linear regression were used for data analysis. Analysis was completed using SPSS 28.0 with a statistical significance level of .01. Flow data from sports and other activities from The FLOW Manual: The Manual for the Flow Scales (Jackson et al., 2010) were used for comparative analysis.

The data collected for this study reveals that adult recreational doubles pickleball players experience flow in all nine dimensions (Challenge/Skill Balance, Merging of Action and Awareness, Clear Goals, Unambiguous Feedback, Total Concentration, Sense of Control, Loss of Self-Consciousness, Time Transformation, and Autotelic Experience) (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). The data also revealed adult recreational doubles pickleball players report flow subdimension experience at levels higher on average than flow measures collected from participants in collegiate and professional sports and other activities in previous studies (Jackson et al., 2010; Özdemir & Durhan, 2020). The variables of the average number of days played per week, tournament participation, marital status, and years of pickleball play were significantly related to flow. Gender, age, education, and location were not related to player flow.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Health, Recreation, and Community Services

First Advisor

Oksana Grybovych Hafermann, Chair, Dissertation Committee

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xii, 195 pages)