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The history of Pickleball

Born in 1965, pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the USA. The current popularity and ever-growing fame of this sport made us share the whole history of pickleball.

A Congressman from Washington named Joel Pritchard and a successful businessman named Bill Bell when to return to Pritchard’s home after playing golf, they found their children annoyed as they were bored.

The children though tried to add fun to this summer vacation at Pritchard’s home on Bainbridge Island by playing badminton but they could not find the right equipment. So, Joel and Bill began to improvise a new game.

At first, they used a badminton net with 60 inches of height and then started playing by volleying the ball back and forth across the net. The play progressed during those vacations and they realized that the game is more responsive on asphalt surfaces.

Also, the net should be at a height of 36 inches instead of 60 inches. After Barney McCallum joined to play this game, the three men decided to come up with some set of rules too.

From 1967 to 1997

Pickleball origin as discussed above was in 1965 and the first permanent pickleball court was built in the backyard of Joel Pritchard’s neighbor named Bob O’ Brian in the year 1965.

In the same year, the corporation was formed to protect the creation of pickleball. The National Observer and the Tennis magazine published articles in 1975 and 1976 about America’s newest sport named pickleball. The sport gained immense and fast-paced fame and in 1976 the first known pickleball tournament was held at South Center Athletic Club in Tukwila. In this tournament, the tennis players participated using large wooden paddles and a plastic ball.

In 1978 a book titled The Other Racquet Sports was published which comprises information about pickleball. In 1982, Sid Williams, a pickleball pioneer began to organize tournaments in Washington State.

In 1984 the first rulebook of pickleball was published and the growth and advancement of this sport were secured by the creation of the United States Amateur Pickleball Association (U.S.A.P.A). the executive director of this organization was Sid Williams, a famous pickleball player.

During 1990, it was being played in all states of the USA. In 1997 the founder of the sport, Joel Pritchard passed away at the age of 72.

From 1999 to 2009

In 1999 the first pickleball website called Pickleball Stuff was launched. This website provided players with information about pickleball products and equipment. Minding if pickleball is an Olympic sport? The answer is yes! Pickleball was introduced in the Arizona Senior Olympics for the first time. It was the largest pickleball event at that time and drew 100 players.

In 2003, pickleball was included in the Huntsman World Senior Games held every October at St. George, Utah.

In 2005, the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) was established. Steve Wong the former USAPA Webmaster also created the USAPA website which continued to gain popularity as its features increased.

In 2006, one of the founders of Pickleball, Bill Bell passed away at the age of 83.

In 2008, Pickleball was included in National Senior Games Association (NSAGA).

In 2009, the first USAPA National Tournament was held in Buckeye, Arizona, and players of all ages joined to play.

From 2010 till now

To grow the admiration and approval of pickleball to another level, the USAPA established the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) and its corresponding website in 2010. In 2013, USAPA recorded whooping 4,071 members and re-branded its logo and color scheme. In 2014, USAPA launched a new website and its first professional Pickleball Channel.

In 2015, the members of USAPA surpasses the number of 10,000 and the first USAPA ambassador retreat was held in Tahoe City, CA.

In 2016, USAPA created a national referee certification program with its members reaching up to 17,000. The Pickleball Magazine launched its first professional, full-color, digital publication. Also in 2016, the USAPA selected St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital as its charitable partner.

In 2017, the number of USAPA regionals expanded from 8 to 11. This means that the number of USAPA members doubled in just 2 years.

In 2018, the recorded total number of courts per place to play location of pickleball is about 7,000. In the same year, USAPA partnered with results-based tournament player ratings (UTPRs), Professional Pickleball Registry (PPR), and Professional Tennis Registry (PTR).

In 2019 the last among the three founders of pickleball, Barney McCallum also passed away at the age of 93. This year, USAPA showed a growth rate of 1,000% with almost 40,000 members.

USAPA continued to reinvest in its infrastructure and exploded the popularity of pickleball to another level.

How is pickleball played?

It is a simple paddle game in which players use a baseball-sized wiffleball over a tennis-type net. The pickleball court dimensions are similar to those of a badminton court. Only the serving team can score points and to score the points it is imperative that

  • The ball must bounce at least one time per side.
  • It must stay within bounds.
  • Players must serve at the baseline.
  • Serves must not land at the non-volley zone.
  • The game must end at 11, 15, or 21 points.

Why is pickleball called pickleball?

Nope, contrary to your imagination, no pickles are involved in this game. Though there is some debate on how pickleball got its name, there are two different accounts. According to the first account, Joel Pritchard’s wife, Joan started calling this sport pickleball as the name reminds her of a pickle boat in the crew. In this boat, the oarsmen were picked from the leftovers of the other boats.

According to the second account, the name was suggested after the Pritchard’s dog Pickles. Pickles used to chase the ball and run with it. However, according to another belief, the dog was named a couple of years after this sport was created.

Places where they play pickleball

According to the Pickleball Stuff website, there are 39 known places in North America where they officially play pickleball. These places include 3 Canadian Provinces, 10 States, and 150 individual courts.


Why it is called pickleball?

It is stated the name was suggested by Joan Pritchard as it reminds her of the pickle boat in the crew.

When did pickleball recognize as a sport?

Invented in 1965, pickleball was adopted as an official sport by Washington in the year 2022.

In which state is pickleball most popular?

Pickleball is highly adorned in Naples, Florida as it claimed the unofficial title of Pickleball Capital of the world. Also, it has around 60 well-established pickleball courts.

What do we call a pickleball racket?

It is known as a pickleball paddle. The pickleball paddle is larger than a ping pong racket but smaller than a tennis racket.

What do we call the types of shots in pickleball?

The types of shots in pickleball are as below

1. The drive
2. The serve
3. The block shot
4. The deep return serves
5. The cross-court dink
6. The backhand punch
7. The overhead smash
8. The Lob

Pickleball Vs tennis, which is easier?

When we consider the ease of movements, pickleball is far easier than tennis as it involves less movement.