Pickleball is a fun and engaging sport that has gained immense popularity in North and South America over the past five decades. It’s enjoyed by people of all ages, making it an ideal choice for families and professionals alike. This paddle sport combines elements of badminton, table tennis, and traditional tennis, creating a unique game that is easy to pick up and play.
In this article, we’ll explore the history of pickleball, including how it was invented, how it grew in popularity, and why it’s called pickleball.
At its core, pickleball is a simple paddle sport played with paddles of various materials and a polymer ball containing holes, similar to a wiffle ball. The game can be played as singles (1 vs. 1) or doubles (2 vs. 2) with two or four players. While the gameplay shares similarities with tennis, there are also some differences that make pickleball stand out from other racquet sports.
History of Pickleball
The Invention of Pickleball: Back to 1965
The story of pickleball began in 1965 when Joel Pritchard from Washington returned to his home on Bainbridge Island with his two friends Bill Bell and Barney MacCallum. To alleviate their families’ boredom during a weekend gathering, they decided to play badminton but couldn’t find the shuttlecock. Instead, they used a plastic ball and wooden paddles to hit the ball over the badminton net.
MacCallum created the first wooden paddle for this new game while Pritchard set rules for playing. Their main goal was to create a game that their families could enjoy together – hence, pickleball was born.
Growth & Popularity Across the Decades
The first permanent pickleball court was constructed in Joel Pritchard’s friend’s backyard.
1972 – 1978:
In 1972, Pickle-Ball, Inc. was established to promote the development of pickleball. By 1975, an article was published about it as “America’s newest racquet sport”. The world’s first pickleball tournament took place in 1978.
Pickleball tournaments started being held in Washington State by 1982. The United States Amateur Pickleball Association (USAPA) was founded in 1984 to foster the growth of the sport, and by 1990, pickleball had expanded across all 50 US states.
Pickleball balls became more readily available with the first pickleball drilling machine in 1992. In 1997, one of the inventors, Joel Pritchard, passed away. Then, in 1999, the first internet pickleball website was created to provide information about the game, its rules, and its equipment.
Pickleball becomes more widespread. It was introduced for the first time in the Arizona Senior Olympics, the USAPA was created, another of the sport’s founders passed away, and more and more tournaments pop up. The Pickleball Hall of Fame was created.
The sport continues to explode in popularity. There are reportedly now more than 8.9 million players in the USA over the age of 6 years old, up about 85% from the year before.
Why it is called pickleball?
There are two theories behind the name “pickleball.”
According to one story, Joel Pritchard’s wife came up with the name because she thought the game resembled a “pickle boat” – a term used for a boat crewed by inexperienced rowers or leftover members from other boats.
The second theory suggests that the name has origins from Pritchard’s family dog named Pickles who would chase after balls during games.
The Evolution of Pickleball Equipment
In order to play pickleball, some equipment is required. This amount of equipment is relatively minimal and is readily available.
Peddles are mostly made of materials like graphite, wood, and composite material. The cheapest type of peddles are wooden paddles, they are also easy to use. The size of pickleball Paddles should be larger than table tennis paddles and smaller than badminton rackets. The dimension of peddles are maximum length 15.5 – 17 inches and width of 7- 8.5 inches.
The balls used in pickleball are made up of plastic which is very light in weight as compared to other balls used in different games. The most interesting thing about balls used in this game is that they contain holes in them. These holes make the ball less effecting by wind and the game is smoothly played. In general 26 to 40 holes are present in a ball. More the no of holes more efficient the ball is. Balls are served under the hand. Also, read the Pickleball Serving Rules.
For pickleball, a proper dress code is not needed. Players can wear anything in which they are comfortable. Like they can wear sweatshirts, caps, sneakers, sweatpants, light jackets, etc.
A pickleball court is a place where we play the game. Usually, the size of the pickleball court is the same as the double badminton court. The dimensions of the court are 20×44 feet. The pickleball net is attached at the height of 36 inches from the sides and 34 inches from the middle. Court for single and double players remain the same. In the court, the serving line is a non-volley zone which we called Kitchen. It is 7 feet away from each side of the net.
Why pickleball is so popular?
In recent days pickleball is very much popular because of many reasons.
- First of all, it is very easy to play as it is a combination of different sports and has simple rules to play.
- Pickleball is a social activity and people become close to each other. Moreover, families can play this game together which increases their understanding of each other.
- Pickleball is also a healthy game and keeps people fit. This allows a balance in your reflexes.
- Pickleball can easily be in parks and anywhere with very cheap equipment. It can be played indoors and outdoors.
How Pickleball is different than tennis?
Although both the games are quite similar on the basis of which we can differentiate between both the games. Following are the differences:
- In tennis double fault is present while it is not present in pickleball.
- In tennis overhand serving is allowed while in pickleball underhand serving is allowed.
- Pickleball is loud while tennis is quiet.
- The dimensions of the court used in both tennis and pickleball are the same.
- Tennis is played outdoors, on the other hand, pickleball can be played both indoors and out the door.
- In tennis ball is not hit hard, but in pickleball, ball is hit hard.
- In tennis, simple plastic balls are used, while in pickleball plastic balls containing holes in them are used.
Popular country of pickleball
As it is described earlier that the pickleball is invented in the United States of America. It is mostly played in America. It is mostly played and getting popularity because it is cheap and required only equipment a peddle and a ball.
There are some questions which people frequently ask about pickleball when they search about the game:
1. Why it is called pickleball?
Its name is based on two stories. According to one story its name was given by Joel Pritchard’s wife which reminds her of the pickle boat. While according to the second story pickle name was given in the memory of Joel Pritchard’s dog. Who chase the pickleball and ran off.
2. Is pickleball easier than tennis?
Yes! Pickleball is easier than tennis. Because it emerges from tennis with some changes rules. So pickleball is easier to play as compared to tennis.
3. What is Pickleball equipment?
Following equipment are required for pickleball :
- Dress code
4. What is the double bounce rule?
The rule in which the first team shot off the bounce which other team also must serve the bounce and then the first team again serve the bounce. After two bounces occur the shot is played off it is called the double bounce rule.
5. What is the required age of pickleball players?
Pickleball is played by people of all ages up to 43.5 years old. This game makes people healthy and fit.
6. What dress code is needed for pickleball players?
For pickleball, a proper dress code is not needed. You can wear whatever in which you are comfortable with. You can wear sweatshirts, sweatpants, caps, sneakers, etc.
7. Where is pickleball played the most?
Pickleball is mostly played in the United State Of America. It is the place where the game was invented. It’s getting popular day by day.
In pickleball, the ball is served underhand. Overhand ball serving is not allowed in pickleball.
9. What is a pickleball ball?
The ball of pickleball is the same as the tennis ball. It is made up of light plastic with some holes in it.
10. Why does a pickleball ball have holes in it?
Pickleball balls have holes in them to reduce the resistance of air. Through holes, air can easily pass. The game is smooth when holes are present in a ball.