2 minutes reading time (351 words)

What is Pickleball?


Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong into one fun and exciting game. It was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington by three dads - Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum - in an effort to entertain their kids who were bored with their usual summertime activities. Since that time the popularity of pickleball has grown exponentially throughout the US and Canada. The game is growing internationally as well, with many European and Asian countries adding courts. 

Pickleball is hailed as a game for everyone. People of all ages and skill levels have learned to love the game. The rules are simple. Equipment is inexpensive. It is easy to learn, great exercise, and is a very social activity. Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles. Indoors and outdoors. 

"The Pritchards had a dog named Pickles, and you're having fun at a party, right? So, anyways, what the hell, let's just call it pickleball."

Barney McCallum
Why is it Called "Pickleball"?
Pickleball has a very unusual name. Especially since no pickles are used. Tales of how the name originated differ. 
  1. ​According to Joel Pritchard's wife (Joan), she started calling the game pickleball becuse "the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats."
  2. According to Barney McCallum, the game was officially named after the Pritchards' dog Pickles, who would chase the ball and run off with it. 

The Evolution of Pickleball Paddles 

Pickleball Court Dimensions 

Fun Pickleball Vocabulary​

  • Dink shot: A soft shot that is intended to arc over the net and land within the non-volley zone
  • Kitchen: An affectionate name for the non-volley zone
  • Non-volley Zone: A seven-foot area adjacent to the net within which you may not volley the ball
  • Champion Shot: A ball which double bounces in the No Volley Zone
  • Smash or Slam: A hard, overhead shot

 History of Pickleball

Pickleball Today

According to USAPA.org, there are over 15,000 indoor and outdoor courts in the United States; and at least one location in all 50 states.  The Sports & Fitness Industry Associaton's (SFIA) 2016 Participant Report cites more than 2.5 million pickleball participants in the United States. 

 Images Copyright Pickle-ball, Inc.

Rules of Pickleball
Translators Needed for Global Pickleball Networks

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