Pickleball History From Invention to Popularity

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a paddle sport. The game is played indoors and outdoors on a badminton-sized court with a net similar to tennis, a paddle, and a perforated plastic ball.

When was pickleball invented?

Pickleball was invented in 1965 on an old badminton court in Joul Pritchard’s house on Bainbridge Island.

Where did pickleball originate?

Whoever heard about pickle ball, the first question that arises in their mind is Who Invented Pickleball? Well, there are three fathers/inventors of pickleball, Joel Pritchard- a six-term US Congressman from 1973-1985; Barney McCallum, who worked with Joel; and businessman William Bell. All three were neighbors on Bainbridge Island. 

One summer, Joel and Willian Bell came to Joel’s home and saw the family sitting around doing nothing. The house had an old badminton court. 

Pritchard was getting bored. He searched for rackets to engage his family in badminton, but he didn’t find the equipment, so he improvised with ping-pong paddles and a perforated plastic ball and started playing.

They played the game with the settings of badminton- the net height of 60 Inches, but they realized that the ball bounded more on the asphalt surface; therefore, they reduced the size of the net to 36 inches.

Later they introduced Barney to this new game in Joel’s home. Soon they created the rules, yet a name was to be given to the game. Their sole purpose was to engage the family in a game that could be played together.

How did pickleball get its name?

When it comes to where did the name pickleball come from? There are two stories behind it.

1- Pickles the Dog

Pickles was the dog in Joel’s family. Although the game didn’t have a name for years, when pickleball got famous, they had to name it “Pickleball” after their dog.

2- The Pickle Boat

In rowing, a pickle boat is the last boat across the line. In an interview, Joel Pritchard’s wife, Joan, said that pickleball originated from leftovers of other games, mainly badminton; therefore, it was named after the pickle boat as it was also the one that was left behind in the race. 

Which Story Is True?

In an interview, Joel’s daughter mentioned that we didn’t get the dog until years after the game started. Also, Joel Pritchard accepted in an interview that the dog’s story was fabricated, but who cares after we give it a funny name. After doing some research, we found that rowing is quite common on Bainbridge Island. Therefore, it is considered that name comes from the pickle boat, not from the pickles of the dog.

Trends in Pickleball over the years

1965-The birth year of pickleball. Although after some years, there was a debate on the exact year commonly, 1965 is considered the year when pickleball was invented

1967– In Magnolia, Seattle, the first permanent pickleball court was built

1972– Barney McCallum started Pickleball Inc. to sell pickleball starter kits

1976– In Tukwila, Washington, the first pickle ball tournament takes place

1984– The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) established and published the first rulebook. In 2005, USAPA reorganized as the USA Pickleball Association 

1990– Played in over 45 states

2008– Over 400 courts in US and Canada to play pickleball

2017– Pickleball Hall of Fame created

2022– Over 4.8 Million pickleball players in the US

Pickleball has evolved more than ever in the last 4-5 years. You can see from the figures in 2019, there were over 2.6 million players in the US with over 7500 locations/courts, skyrocketing to 3.6 million in 2021 and 4.8 million in 2022.

Benefits of Pickleball OR What are the benefits of Pickleball OR Pickleball Benefits

When you hear about pickleball, what are the benefits of pickleball? Well, there is no doubt that pickleball was invented to engage the whole family in a game. Alongside family gatherings, it has many benefits, whether related to your physique or psych. 

Whether you are young or a senior (Interlink Senior wali post), citizen pickleball will help you in the following:

  • Heart & cardiovascular health
  • Muscles, bones & joints health
  • Diabetes prevention
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol level
  • Illness & Chronic disease risk
  • Mobility and agility
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Social relationships

What’s Needed To Play Pickleball/Equipment to start pickleball/ Equiments

Every game has its own unique set of equipment to play, and the same goes for pickleball. When you play pickle ball, you should have these three primary things.

Pickleball Paddles

Paddles are used to hit the ball back and forth over the net and are available in various materials, sizes, and shapes. The most common materials for pickleball paddles include wood, aluminum, graphite, and composite materials. The right pickleball paddle will depend on an individual’s skill level, playing style, and personal preference.

Pickleball

A pickleball is a round plastic ball with holes all over it. Depending on where you will play, you may need indoor pickleball, outdoor or tournament pickleball.

Net

As pickleball is played on a small court with a net approximately a third of a tennis court’s size, you always need one to play. If you are fortunate to have a pickleball court in your community, you wouldn’t need a net, but if that is not the case, you need a net.

Why Do People Enjoy Pickleball?

People enjoy pickleball because it is a low-impact sport that can be played indoors and outdoors. The game is easy to learn but can be challenging to master. Pickleball is also an excellent way to exercise that keeps you healthy. Adding to exercise, it also helps to reduce stress, socialize, and compete. 

Famous Pickleball Players

Pickleball has been ever-evolving since its discovery. Now there are official players ranking in pickleball also, like other games. There are many top pickleball players. We picked players from men and women both to spread the message about pickleball. We’ll discuss how they started and what they have achieved so far.

Ben Johns

Ben Johns is officially ranked number one in pickleball. At 20 years, he achieved this milestone. After trying different sports, he found his interest in pickleball, stuck with it, and won many tournaments around the country.

Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer Dawson is an inspiration for women in pickleball. She was the first player to win a Triple Crown in 2017 at the Minto US Open. She is an active player, also coaching tennis and pickleball.

Tyson McGuffin

Tyson McGuffin is a former wrestler and tennis player who shifted to pickleball. He enjoyed the game so much that he won the 2017 USA Pickleball National Championships after two years of starting to play pickleball.

Anna Leigh Waters

Anna Leigh Waters is one of the youngest pickleball players. With her studies, she is playing both singles and doubles. Her mother is her partner in doubles. Pickleball opened up many opportunities for her. 

FAQs

When was the first graphite paddle made?

The first graphite paddle was made in 1984.

Where did pickleball start?

Pickleball was started in the backyard of Joul Pritchard’s house on Bainbridge Island.

Is pickleball safe for seniors?

Yes, seniors are playing it more than others because pickleball helps them in their health alongside socializing with their fellows.

Is pickleball a dangerous sport?

No, pickleball is one of the safest sports. However, you have to be careful from falling injuries while playing.

Is pickleball an Olympic sport?

No, pickleball is not an Olympic sport, but it might be in the future.

How much does it cost to play pickleball?

As a beginner, it will cost you around $100-$150, including paddles, balls, uniforms, and court rentals.

Will I like pickleball?

Well, it depends on one’s nature, but with the benefits pickleball provides, I can assure you that you will like it. Give it a try on the coming weekend.

Why is pickleball becoming more popular?

The main reason for its popularity is that pickleball gives benefits from being healthy to socializing with others.

Is pickleball primarily played in the United States?

While pickleball has strong roots in the United States, it has gained popularity globally. It is played in various countries, with international tournaments showcasing the sport’s widespread adoption.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected pickleball’s popularity?

The pandemic has actually boosted pickleball’s popularity as it is an outdoor sport that allows for social distancing. Many people discovered their love for the game during lockdowns, leading to a surge in new players and increased interest.

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