Why Is It Called Pickleball And How Did It Start?

Humans have been capable of improvising for centuries. Improvisation is most commonly seen in today’s performing arts. This includes music, dance, and comedy. We have even created some of the most beloved sports in the world thanks to our ability to adapt to every situation. To give an example, soccer was created by humans using pig bladders to play on tiny courts …. for entertainment. Pickleball’s history is rooted in humans’ natural desire to entertain themselves.

Pickleball was born on a sunny day, with very little to do. After a successful golf outing, Joel Pritchard (father) and Bill Bell (father), arrived at Pritchard’s house on Bainbridge Island in Washington. Their families found it difficult to keep their minds active. Pritchard began to think of a way to end the summer boredom in his family and friends.

Pritchard had an old badminton court on his property so they set out to play. They couldn’t find enough rackets to play a full game, so Pritchard improvised with spare ping-pong paddles and a wiffleball. A brand new game was created from these scraps. It’s now known as pickleball.

They added their own house rules to their game as the weekend progressed. The net was initially set at 60 inches for badminton, but the group discovered that the Wiffle ball bounced well onto their asphalt court and they reduced the height to 36 inches. Pritchard and Bell presented their new invention to Barney McCullum, a family friend, at this stage. With heavy inspiration from badminton and other games, the dads developed new rules for family play and accessibility.

Joel Pritchard built the first permanent pickleball court two years later, in 1967 in the backyard of Bob O’Brian’s home. Pritchard was Pritchard’s neighbor and close family friend. Their beloved pastime was further strengthened by the decision to build a permanent, dedicated court. Pickleball, Inc. was established in 1972 in order to assist interested players in purchasing equipment for the game. These included nets and paddles that could not be used in other racquet games but were made specifically for pickleball. This corporation was founded to help pickleball players find the right equipment. It also helped make the sport a more popular pastime.

You’ll see pickleball as the fastest-growing sport in America today. International growth is also gaining momentum. The U.S.A. Pickleball Association currently lists almost 4,000 places where you can play across the country. Let’s look at how pickleball has grown in popularity over the past 50 years.

What Is Required To Play Pickleball?

Pickleball is affordable and simple to learn. You only need the basics gear to start. You can invest in more gear if you find pickleball enjoyable and you want to take it seriously. You will need a paddle and a ball.

Paddle: These paddles are much larger than those used for table tennis but less than the normal tennis rackets. You can make them from any combination of wood, graphite, aluminum, and other composite materials. A wooden paddle, while being inexpensive, is a bit more difficult to control for beginners.

Ball: Pickleball began with a spare Wiffle ball. Pickleball today is played using a similar ball, but it’s lighter and has holes. Depending on whether you are using the ball indoors or outdoors, make sure that you choose the right ball. Check out the USAPA guidelines if you want to use an official ball.

Apparel: You don’t have to adhere to a dress code for tennis or any other sport. To play tennis, you only need basic athletic clothing and comfortable tennis shoes.

Basic Rules of Pickleball

Pickleball can either be played singles or in doubles, and both versions have the same rules.

  • It must be served diagonally from the baseline to the opponent’s court without bouncing it off the court.
  • The serve must clear the net. It may not land in your kitchen.
  • Points can be scored when an opponent is at fault (failing or hitting the ball out-of-bounds, or into the net).
  • Only the serving team is allowed to score.
  • The server will continue serving until the serving side is faulted.
  • The minimum score for a game is 11 points.
  • Before the ball can be volleyed, it must bounce at least once on each side after being served. This is called the double bounce rule.
  • Players can’t volley the ball if they aren’t in the non-volley zone, or at the non-volley line.

What Is Pickleball?

Pickleball is not difficult to learn, despite the complicated rules. It takes only a few matches to get started. Pickleball is a fun sport that fosters a friendly environment. Other players will be happy to assist you in understanding the rules. These rules will become second nature faster the more you play. This will allow you to begin your journey towards mastery.

The Court

Pickleball can be played on a 44’x20′ badminton court. The net is 36 inches on each side and 34 inches in the middle. These are the rules for singles and doubles.

The Serve

The server begins by standing behind the baseline at either end of the court. With the paddle at the waist, the ball must then be served to the diagonal opponent’s zone. If you serve from your left zone of service, the ball must then land in your opponent’s left zone of service. Serves must be clear of the net and non-volley zones, as well as the non-volley lines. (If the ball touches the line during the service it is considered a fault).

The ball must not bounce off the ground during service and must be struck while it is in the air. During service, both feet must be in front of the baseline. If the ball hits the net, the service court will allow only one attempt to serve. In this case, the “let” is the name of the action and the server is given another chance.

Serving Sequence

Each player can serve up to a fault in a doubles match. This rule is only broken during the first game of each match. Only one player on the serving side can serve before the service is given to the opposing team.

When service is between two teams, the first service must be made from the right side of the court. You can score and then switch to the left side to serve. Serving players are allowed to continue until they are notified of a fault. If a server is found guilty of a violation in a game of doubles, their partner will serve from the same courtside as the original server.


Only players can volley the ball if they are within the non-volley line. It’s considered a mistake if they step beyond the non-volley zone line during the follow-through.

You need to be familiar with terms

Kitchen: Also called the non-volley area, the kitchen is the space between the net line and the non-volley line on either side.

Volleying is hitting the ball before it bounces.

Fault: When the ball is not in its proper place, it is a fault.

  • Lands beyond bounds
  • It doesn’t clear the net
  • Clears the non-volley area or boundary lines during the service
  • Is the non-volley area used to volley?
  • It is volleyed before it bounces on each side

Side-Out: This term applies when service is rendered to an opposing team

Dink is a shot where the goal is to land the ball at your opponent’s feet or in their non-volley area.

Pickleball: Why People Love It

Pickleball is America’s fastest-growing sport. Pickleball is very easy to learn and it’s great for all ages. Tennis, badminton, and racquetball are all racket sports that require hours of practice or lessons to grasp the basics. Pickleball was created for family fun. It takes only a few matches to learn how to play. It’s easy to start a game and show your skills!

Pickleball is also affordable, requires minimal equipment, and can be played on a small court which makes it accessible to entire communities. Many recreation departments use a court that has been adapted for pickleball, even if there isn’t a dedicated one. You don’t have to look far to find the right court size for you. Tape, a portable net, and sometimes can be used to fix any surface or court. You’ll be ready to play no matter what time it is!

Pickleball’s small court size is one of its greatest assets. You can improve your hand-eye coordination and reflexes in a fast-paced environment. It also allows you to socialize with other players. Pickleball’s small court is no excuse for not getting a good workout. It’ll be difficult to get down …. once you grab a paddle. So make sure to hydrate and stretch often.

Now you know where it all began, but the question that we all are still asking is why pickleball is called pickleball. The origins of pickleball’s name can vary between accounts, according to the U.S.A. Pickleball Association.

Joan Pritchard, Joel’s wife, decided to name their game pickleball after her husband. She said that the combination of various sports reminded her of the pickle boat crew, where the oarsmen were selected from leftovers from other boats. But Barney McCallum says they named it Pickleball after Pritchard and his dog Pickles, as you might have guessed. Their dog loved the sweet taste of pickles and would often run off with the ball.

Both accounts may be true, depending on who you ask. Pickleball didn’t have a name at the beginning. An official one was required when it gained popularity. Pickleball’s laid-back nature makes it fitting that it is named in the same way.

This post was written by Kristian D’an, a pickle pall specialist with Pickleball Connection. Pickleball Connections is a private club offering the latest news, training, sportswear, supplements, and more. For exclusive deals, and to stay up to date on everything Pickleball go to pickleballconnections.org for more information.