Where Did Pickleball Originate- History of Pickleball

Pickleball has been one of the fastest-growing paddle sports all around the world and as each day passes, more and more players are getting excited to try this game. As a fan or player of pickleball, you must have an idea about where did pickleball originate from. We have researched and will share a brief history and origination of this game.

History Of Pickleball

The most common questions players or fans ask is who invented this game or how it was invented. We will start from the origin of pickleball, describe its origin, and how it transformed over years. Here is the year-wise history of pickleball:

  • 1965

The pickleball was created way back in 1965 and there is an interesting story behind it that goes as. Joel Pritchard who is a congressman from Washington state, and a successful businessman Bill Bell came back to Pritchard’s home where families were gathered and sitting around while doing nothing. The Pritchard’s house had an old badminton court so to keep both families entertained Bell and Pritchard started to look for badminton equipment but they couldn’t find a full set of rackets. Also Check: Best Pickleball Shoes

They improvised the game by playing with ping-pong paddles and a plastic ball. At the start of the game, the net was placed at a height of 60 inches and after some plays, they concluded that the ball was bouncing well on the asphalt surface. Soon after that, they lowered the net to 36 inches, and on the same weekend, they invited Barney McCallum to the game. After some time, these three men created some rules that were majorly extracted from badminton and they kept in mind that reason they created this game that was so that the whole family can play together. Also, check the Top Pickleball Players.

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  • 1967

Joel Pritchard was able to construct the first lasting pickleball court in the backyard of his friend and neighbor, Bob O’Brian.

  • 1972

In the above-mentioned year, to protect the creation of this newly invented sport known as pickleball, a corporation was formed.

  • 1975

An article was published by the National Observer and it was followed by an article later in 1976 mentioned in a tennis magazine as “America’s Newest Racquet Sport”. Also Check: Best Pickleball Machine

  • 1976

In the spring of 1976, the first tournament of pickleball was held and it took place at South Center Athletic Club, Washington. In this tournament, David Lester won and Steve Paronto came second. Most of the participants of this tournament were tennis players with little to no experience in pickleball. Also read the How to Regrip Your Pickleball Paddle?

  • 1978

“The Other Racquet Sports” a book published in 1978 contained information about pickleball.

  • 1982

One of the most famous pickleball pioneers, Sid Williams started to play and organize tournaments in Washington state.

  • 1984

The first rule book of pickleball was created and The United States Amateur Pickleball Association (USAPA) was put together. Sid Williams was the first President and Executive Director and he served from 1984 to 1998. Then Frank Candelario was tasked to keep things going until 2004. Also, read the What to Wear for Pickleball?

The initial composite paddle was manufactured by an engineer at Boeing Industrial known as Arlen Poronto. He made up to 1000 paddles using graphite/honeycomb core and in the end, he sold his company to Frank Candelario. Also Check: Best Pickleball Gloves

  • 1990

Pickleball was being played in all states of the United States Of America.

  • 1992

In-house pickleball was being manufactured with a custom drilling machine in Pickleball Inc.

  • 1999

Pickleball Stuff was the first pickleball website that was launched in 1999 and it provided players with information regarding equipment, products, and pickleball itself as a sport.

  • 2001

For the very first time in the Arizona Senior Olympics, a game of pickleball was introduced. A tournament was started with more than 100 players at Happy Trails RV Resort in Surprise.

  • 2003

There were a total of 150 pickleball courts including courts in 10 states and 3 Canadian provinces. Pickleball was included in Huntsman World Senior Games for the first time and this event is held each year during October in St. George.

  • 2005

USAPA became a non-profit organization on July 1 and before that, the first website of USAPA went live in March. Furthermore, USAPA contributed to several websites and cooperated with them to create a single reliable information source for players. That website URL is places2play.org. Also, check the What is an Erne in pickleball?

  • 2008

The first official tournament rulebook was published by USAPA Rules Committee and pickleball was introduced for the first time in National Senior Games Association. In 2008, there were about 1500 courts listed on the USAPA website including 43 States and 4 Canadian Provinces.

  • 2009

In Buckeye, Arizona, the first USAPA National Tournament for all ages was held and more than 400 players from 26 States and Canadian Provinces joined.

  • 2010

The International Federation Of Pickleball was established by USAPA to ensure the growth of pickleball on an international level.

  • 2013

Justin Maloof joins USAPA as the full-time Executive Director and USAPA re-brands with a new logo that is much more consistent compared to the old one.

  • 2014

The First professional media group was launched known as Pickleball Channel and USAPA launches a more user-friendly website.

  • 2015-2021

USAPA membership surpasses 10,000 members in 2015 and over time it reaches 53,000 at the end of 2021 and with over 2300 registered players. More courts are being created from time to time and it is still in the growing phase.

How Did Pickleball Get Its Name?

There are two different accounts and popular debates on how the name Pickleball originated. The first and most popular account is according to Joan Pritchard. According to him, Jeol Pritchard started calling this game Pickleball because the game combinations reminded her of oarsmen being chosen from the leftover of other boats of the pickle boat in the crew. Also, check the Difference Between Indoor vs. Outdoor Pickleballs.

The Second and most popular account is of Barney MacCallum and according to him, Pritchard’s dog name was Pickles. The dog would chase the ball and run along with it.


By looking at history, we can conclude that Pickleball is still growing worldwide and there are nearly 8500 locations on the places2play map. The growth of this sport is directly linked to the communities and more communities are being formed and established on multiple continents making this game grow more and more. Also, check the How To Clean a Pickleball Paddle.


  • What country invented pickleball?

Pickleball was invented in Washington as a kids’ backyard game by a family who tried to keep their kids busy on a hot summer day

  • Where is pickleball most popular?

Pickleball is most popular in Washington and it is now the state game of it. 

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