Home Pickleball What Is Pickleball and Why Is It So Popular?

What Is Pickleball and Why Is It So Popular?


Pickleball is a paddleball sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It originated in the United States in the mid-1960s. It was invented by three dads – Joel Pritchard (former congressman from Washington State), Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum – on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, Washington.

According to the story, in 1965, Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell returned to Pritchard’s home after playing golf to find their families sitting around, bored. They set out to find a game that the whole family could play together, and they improvised a game using a badminton court, a net that was lowered to 36 inches, and a perforated plastic ball. They quickly realized that the ball didn’t bounce well on the asphalt surface of the badminton court, so they made some modifications and moved the game to a nearby tennis court, where they found that the ball bounced well on the surface. Over time, they refined the rules of the game and introduced a new paddle that was larger than a table tennis paddle but smaller than a tennis racquet.

The game was initially called “Paddle Tennis” but was later renamed “Pickleball” after the family’s dog, Pickles, who would chase the ball and run off with it. The sport quickly gained popularity, and by the 1970s, it had spread across the United States and Canada. Today, it is played in more than 40 countries around the world and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee.

Grows In Popularity

As the game gained popularity in the Pacific Northwest, it spread to other parts of the country and eventually around the world. The rules were standardized, and the equipment was improved over time.

Today, pickleball is played on a court similar to a doubles badminton court, with a net that is lower than a tennis net. 30 inches compared to a 36-inch net for tennis. The game can be played in singles or doubles and is popular among players of all ages and skill levels.

Pickleball has become one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, with millions of players in the United States alone. Its popularity is due in part to its accessibility, as it is easy to learn and can be played on any surface.

Pickleball’s popularity has been on the rise in recent years for several reasons. It can be played by anyone, from children to seniors, and requires minimal equipment and space.

Another reason for its growing popularity is that it is a low-impact sport that is less physically demanding than many other sports. This makes it an attractive option for older adults who may not be able to participate in high-impact activities such as running or tennis.

The Social Factor

Additionally, pickleball is a social sport that can be played with friends and family members, making it a fun way to stay active while spending time with loved ones. Many communities have pickleball clubs and leagues that provide opportunities for players to meet new people and form social connections.

The sport has also received a boost in popularity due to its inclusion in many senior living communities and retirement homes. These communities have embraced pickleball as a way to promote physical activity and socialization among their residents.

Another factor contributing to its popularity is the growth of the sport’s competitive scene. Professional pickleball tournaments and rankings now have helped to raise the sport’s profile and attract new players.

In conclusion, pickleball’s popularity can be attributed to its accessibility, low-impact nature, social aspects, and growing competitive scene. As more people discover the joys of playing pickleball, it is likely that its popularity will continue to grow in the coming years.

Written by
Everett Teague

Everett is a USPTA Professional Tennis & Pickleball Instructor/Coach (Elite Rated) in Tallahassee, FL. He has over 30 years of teaching and coaching experience with all levels and ages of players. In addition to specializing in sound, sport science-based stroke fundamentals, he specializes in efficient contact movement (footwork) skills, fitness training, and mental toughness strategies. He is also the founder of Racket Sports Media, a digital consulting company that helps racket sports clubs differentiate and thrive through tailored content. www.racketsportsmedia.com

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