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Last Updated on May 10, 2020
Have you heard about pickleball? This might be the first time you’ve heard about it, or you may have been a fan of the game for years.
In either case, you can’t go wrong with knowing a bit about where the sport has come from. Who developed it? When did it kick off?
We’re going to cover all of that for you, and you’re sure to find that it’s quite interesting how such a popular game can get started in a very simple way.
If you’re ready to learn about this great game, you’re definitely in the right place!
What Is Pickleball?
For those who are unfamiliar with pickleball, it’s a game that rests somewhere in between table tennis, badminton and actual tennis.
In this game, you use a lowered net, wooden paddles and a ball that is similar to, but smaller than, a wiffle ball.
What many enjoy about pickleball is that it’s a more casual sport than tennis.
As a result, it’s something families can enjoy together without having to worry about extreme rules or high levels of ability.
It can also be played in both doubles and singles, and it takes up a smaller space than tennis overall.
How Was Pickleball Invented?
When a pair of bored families in 1965 found themselves with nothing to do on a nice summer day, it led to a rampant search for badminton equipment.
Unable to locate all of the equipment needed, they decided to make do with a small, plastic ball and a pair of paddles designed for ping pong.
From there, it only took a few adjustments, like a lowered net, to get the game working well.
From that point, it didn’t take long for the game to take off. Over time, it developed into a game that actually has its own courts, leagues and association. It truly became a sporting success!
Who Invented Pickleball?
Those bored families were those of Bill Bell and Joel Pritchard, who were congressman for Washington state at the time of the invention of the game.
It was their willingness to try something new that led to the development of a game that is played pretty widely today in a number of different countries.
Eventually, Pritchard and Bell introduced Barney McCallum to the game as well. As a group, they worked together to create more specified rules around the game, making it a little more structured.
A couple of years later, pickleball received its first actual court for people to enjoy the game on.
When Did Pickleball Start to Become Popular?
Pickleball caught on pretty quickly. Having first been thought up in 1965, it was only seven years later that a corporation for the game arose.
Three years after that, it began to garner attention from The National Observer, who did a piece on the game. This is where it began getting national attention.
A year after that, the first tournament for the sport was held.
At the time, many of those who were playing were new to the game, but learned quickly as they competed. A few years later in 1984, the first national association was created, signifying it as a real sport.
From that point, the game has only grown. In recent years, it has started to gain attention from a number of countries.
It makes sense, seeing as it’s an easy game to get into without too many difficult rules. One may look forward to seeing how the sport grows in the future.
How is Pickleball Played Today?
Today, there are a number of ways you can play pickleball. Pickleball sets are easy to purchase, and they don’t tend to be highly expensive.
Because this is a casual game, it’s not something you typically need specialized equipment for — just some wooden paddles, a net, and a plastic ball is all it takes.
As long as you measure it accordingly, you can set up a small, basic court in your own yard. This is a great way to spend a little time outside in the warmer months, playing a game the whole family can enjoy together.
Otherwise, there are many pickleball courts that you can find by checking out the association website for the sport. Even if there isn’t a pickleball court near you, a tennis or badminton court can often be used just as easily.
As long as everyone knows where the boundaries are, you’re good to go!
What are the Basics of Pickleball?
A good portion of the rules for this sport involve the initial serve. For the most part, each side only gets a single serve unless specific rules come into play, meaning that if the ball manages to hit the net or end up outside the bounds, the other side gets to make the serve.
Another important aspect is the no-volley zone. When the ball is in this zone, it can’t be volleyed by any player. The good news is that there is plenty of space in most cases to avoid this zone, as the no-volley zone is about 7 feet away from the net.
In order to win the game, one player needs to have reached 11 points and have at least two more points than their opponent. Essentially, what that means is games may go beyond 11 points at times.
While there are more rules to the game, these are the ones that will be the most important.
Where Can You Play?
Depending on where you’re located, you can find a number of different ways to play pickleball. As previously mentioned, one of the simplest options is to just get your own set and get a net set up in your back yard.
That said, sometimes people want to play outside of their home space. Luckily, the USUPA website has you covered. You can simply enter your location into the website and it will provide locations near you where you can play pickleball.
Furthermore, you can also use the site to find clubs within your state. This is a great way to get together with other people who love the game, to learn it, play it and even engage in friendly tournaments if you choose to.
There are also regional sites if you want more competitive play information.
On an international scale, the USUPA website can also help you to access international websites for countries like Australia, Canada, Italy and more.
If you live in a community where there isn’t easy access to a club, then you can always use Meetup or other community sites to find people to play with.
Should You Play Pickleball?
The short answer to this is yes! Pickleball can be a great time, and it’s something that welcomes a wide variety of people.
With such a quickly growing community, you’re sure to make friends, have a good time and provide some fantastic benefits to your health.
The following are just a few reasons why you should try this sport out yourself.
It’s a Fun Way to Get Exercise
Some of us enjoy getting exercise, while for others getting exercise may be like pulling teeth.
Something that can make exercise easier is playing a fun game that allows you to focus on something other than making your body sweat and your muscles work.
Pickleball is also an easier way to get that exercise. Unlike tennis or other more intense sports, it’s going to be less likely to strain your body.
This makes it a nice starting point for those who aren’t used to being incredibly physical.
You Can Make it Casual or Competitive
Another great feature of pickleball is that you have full control over the level of competition you want to include in the game.
If you’re just looking to play a game and have a little fun, you absolutely can. If you want to make a real competition out of it, you can do that as well.
The point of this game is really to ensure that everyone is having fun. However you want to create that fun is completely up to you and the people you’re playing with.
It’s a Great Way to Get Social
You can also meet plenty of new people while playing pickleball. By joining clubs, bringing your friends and family into the game or finding a pickleball meetup, you’re sure to have a good time.
For those who are looking to be more social, but want the fun distraction of a game to relieve the pressure, pickleball may be the perfect solution.
It’s Easy to Get Into
This is a game for everyone, whether you’re a professional tennis player or someone who has never touched a paddle before. People of all ages can get into the game and play at their own pace.
This is just one of many reasons why it’s a game that is becoming more and more popular in recent years.
If you’re looking for a new reason to get out and have some fun, pickleball is a prime choice!