What is Pickleball?


Suddenly you felt the need to exercise and be in motion. You either asked Google or your friendly neighbor mentioned an interesting sport Pickleball. Now, you’re on your detective mode to do some research about this, you came to the right place!

Here’s what you need to know…

Pickleball is a paddle sport invented back in 1972 by then State Representative Joel Pritchard on a Saturday afternoon with 2 friends, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum in Bainbridge Island, WA. Why it’s called Pickleball is even more interesting and you can never guess why they decided to call it that way. It’s actually named after Pritchard’s family dog who used to run off with the ball whenever it comes its way. So it’s Pickle’s ball!

Nowadays, the organization that governs Pickleball is International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) that aims to popularize the sport to other countries too. There are other national governing bodies that are established in Canada and India too.

What makes pickleball more interesting is, it’s a combination of 3 different paddle sports:

  • Badminton
  • Tennis
  • Table Tennis

Having three different paddle sports combined into one can be really thrilling. Just like these 3 sports, the ball is being sent back and forth using a paddle passing a net in the middle of a  Badminton-size court. Played by 2-4 players, like Table Tennis but without the actual table, so the ball hits the ground before a player hits it back to the opponent. Similar to tennis, the court ground for Pickleball is made of asphalt or concrete and textured with a smooth and rounded, non-aggressive silica sand.

Things you need

Now you know some basics, it’s time to gear up!

Just like any other paddle sports, to start playing Pickleball you need to prepare three pieces of important equipment: your paddle, ball, and net.

Pickleball Paddle

When playing Pickleball, you will need a Pickleball Paddle; they are specially designed for the sport. Originally, the inventors of this sport used only wooden paddle that they customized. Nowadays, Pickleball paddles have evolved. You can find paddles that are made of different materials like polymer plastic, granite, aluminum,  and nonex, just to name a few. However, there are only a few types of paddles that are approved by IFP to be used in USAPA tournaments.  

To give you more ideas in picking which paddle works best, check out our Top 10 Pickleball Paddle Buyer’s Guide.

The Ball

Of course, Pickleball is not possible without a ball. Similar to Wiffle ball, the ball used for pickleball has holes through it. Made of plastic and available in different colors like white, yellow, and also green. The International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) requires that the ball should be in single color, and same as the paddles, there are only a few types of balls that were approved to be used for USAPA Tournaments.

The Net

It’s difficult to play Pickleball without a net, just like any other paddle sport. The net used for Pickleball is positioned lower than a badminton net. Nowadays, there are few available variety of nets that you can choose from which we’ve analyzed in our Top 10 Pickleball Nets Buyer’s Guide.

It’s a great idea to create your own court if you have the available space, indoors or outdoors. You can find do-it-yourself guidelines and Pickleball Court Dimensions that are both very helpful if you’re interested to making your own Pickleball court. To give you a rough idea, a Tennis court can be turned into max of 4 pickleball courts. So instead of only 2-4 people playing Tennis, a maximum of 8-16 people can play Pickleball.

Why Pickleball is so popular?

These past few years, many people are being hooked by pickleball and its popularity is incredibly spreading fast. What makes this paddle sport very popular and rapidly growing is because of many reasons.

First, it’s easy to learn and play pickleball. It can be played by practically anyone, young or old. It’s even more popular with seniors because a pickleball court is smaller than a tennis court, so it’s easier for them to play this sport. It’s great for those who want to stay active regardless of their physical limitations.

It’s inexpensive, and that is very important. Aside from the actual equipment which are paddle, ball and net, no special outfit or gear is needed. You can simply wear comfortable clothes and shoes and it doesn’t matter if they’re old or new.

It helps people bond and socialize. Because it’s easy to play, you can get anybody to play Pickleball. Your grandparents who you seldom bond with, mom and dad when they’re not busy with anything else, your siblings who are not so athletic or some friends who want to stay active and moving just like you. It’s also a great chance to meet other people!

It keeps you healthy and active. Pickleball is a good mind and body exercise for everyone. It keeps you moving while your hand-eye coordination is at work. Some play to improve their foot speed. It’s very enjoyable playing and socializing or catching up at the same time so you won’t feel you’re doing physical activity at all.

And because this sport’s popularity is soaring, you can easily find places to play. Many parks and recreational places have now added Pickleball to their list of sports. It can be played indoors or outdoors. Just in California, there are 120 locations listed on the national website! Currently, USAPA found 6,000 locations to play Pickleball and created Official USAPA Places 2 Play website, a helpful resource to find the nearest court.

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