The Fundamentals Of Pickleball

Pickleball might sound funny, but this sport is steadily gaining popularity all over the world. Millions of people, regardless of their age or level of expertise, now love to play this game. In this article, we will share with you the basics of pickleball and everything you need to know about the game.

Pickleball is described as a fusion of three sports – badminton, ping pong, and tennis. It is played on a pickleball court and uses a net similar to that of tennis. Players use a paddle that looks like the one used in ping pong but bigger. Meanwhile, the ball used for pickleball has holes that cover its surface, giving it the appearance of a whiffle ball. Like tennis, pickleball is played as singles or doubles.

Pickleball rules are quite easy to understand so anyone who develops an interest in the game can follow it quickly. This simplicity has led to lots of people became passionate about the sport after engaging in a few games.

The smaller court and lighter ball make pickleball an ideal game for people who like low impact exercises. It’s also a fun game for people of all ages, from students to retirees, especially since pickleball is less strenuous compared to other sports. So if you’re looking to have some healthy fun outside, pickleball is a good choice.

The History Behind the Name

Pickleball came into existence on Bainbridge Island, Washington in  1965. The game was created by three men – Joel Pritchard, McCallum Barney, and  Bill Bell.

These dads were said to have come up with the game when their kids were bored. Their families were reportedly planning to play badminton but couldn’t locate the equipment they need. So they improvised by using ping pong paddles, and a whiffle ball.

Pritchard’s wife reportedly referred to her husband’s made up game as pickleball since it combined various sports. It reminded her of the crew of a pickle boat where the oarsmen were selected from other boat’s leftovers.

Barney had another explanation for the game’s name. According to him, the game was named after Pickles, Pritchard’s dog. The family pet was said to be always chasing and running off with the ball.

Pickleball Court Dimensions and Layout

Pickleball courts are springing up all over the world today. There are an estimated 4500 pickleball courts located all over the world.

Don’t feel bad if you want to play the game but cannot find any public court around the area. It’s quite easy to make your pickleball court. It’s also easy to purchase portable pickleball nets, paddles, and balls.

The first thing you need to create your court is a flat surface. A pickleball court measures  20 x 44 feet, which is the same dimension as a doubles badminton court. The net has a height of 36 inches at the edges and is 34 inches high in the center. And similar to tennis courts, pickleball courts also have stripes. You can hire a builder to make your pickleball court or repurpose an existing badminton or tennis court.

Pickleball Equipment and How to Use Them

The next thing you need to know about pickleball is the gear used. The game doesn’t require a lot of equipment. Aside from the net, you will need a paddle and balls. You can find them in sports stores.

Pickleball paddles are smaller than those used in tennis but larger than ping-pong paddles. These paddles are typically made of wood but some of the paddles today are composed of graphite and aluminum. While wood paddles are good, beginners are advised to go for composite paddles as these will help improve their performance, stamina, and ability.

The ball used in this game is unique. It has holes like a whiffle ball. Balls used in indoor courts differ from those used outdoors. They are roughly similar in terms of size and weight, but they vary in how big the holes are and the thickness of the plastic. These features influence the bounce and durability of the balls. Generally, balls used for outdoor pickleball are thicker and heavier, with smaller holes.

Understanding the Rules of Pickleball

Let’s now talk rules.  Pickleball rules were deliberately made to be simple so every member of the family can easily remember and follow them. Most of this game’s rules were adapted from badminton, ping pong, and tennis, even if you play on a court.

There is one objective for the game.  It is for the player to hit the ball over the net so that the opponent will be unable to return it. Doing so will earn the player a point.

The game starts with a player from one side using the paddle to hit the ball to serve. For the service to be appropriate, the player must place a foot at the back of the pickleball backline and use an underhand swing to hit the ball. The server should aim for the service court situated just over the net.

Pickleball rules state that service must begin from the right-hand side of the court. Players are allowed only one fault. In a doubles pickleball game, only one service each is approved for both players. After that, the opponent will receive service turns.

The ball must bounce first before the serving player hits it with their paddle. The rules allow for this to happen at least once at the start of the game. Once the game starts, players are at liberty to do things like volleying or not letting the ball bounce before hitting it. It is acceptable as long as the ball is nowhere near the non-volley zone. This area is about 7feet from the net.

To score a point in pickleball, you must be the serving player or team. The receiving player must receive the “side down” and serve the ball back to earn points. Players can also make points when their opponents commit a fault. The game goes on until a team, or a player reaches  11 points. For a clear winner to emerge, there must be a two-point margin between the players.

Pickleball Game Faults

As previously mentioned, a score is gained in pickleball if a fault occurs. This section will give you a quick rundown of basic pickleball faults.  For instance:

  • The ball does not clear the net or falls short of the non-volley line.
  • Player serves to the wrong court or falls behind the back of the service line.
  • Not hitting the ball before it bounces twice. Ball hitting a player or any part of their clothing, while they’re standing on or off the court during a rally.
  • Hitting the ball that is headed out of bounds. The player should call the ball out quickly, either by yelling that it’s out or by using a hand gesture.
  • Player steps on the non-volley line or court while making a volley shot Letting the ball volley without letting it bounce after the first serve or after a  return.

These pickleball basics should make it easy for you and your friends to pick up this fun game. There’s a genuine possibility that you and your friends will develop a taste for this game, just like the millions of pickleball players.

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