History of Pickleball
Pickleball was devised in the USA in 1965 by Joel Pritchard, congressman from Washington State and Bill Bell, a successful businessman. They had returned to Pritchard’s home on Bainbridge Island, Washington State (near Seattle) to find their families sitting around with nothing to do. The property had an old badminton court so Pritchard and Bell looked for some badminton equipment and could not find a full set of rackets. They improvised and started playing with Table Tennis bats (Old wooden type without rubbers) and a perforated plastic ball. At first they placed the net at badminton height of 60 inches and volleyed the ball over the net. As the weekend progressed, the players found that the ball bounced well on the asphalt surface and soon the net was lowered to 36 inches. The following weekend, Barney McCallum was introduced to the game at Pritchard’s home. Soon, the three men created rules, relying heavily on badminton. They kept in mind the original purpose, which was to provide a game that the whole family could play together.
It is now the fastest growing sport in North America and shortly will be in Europe. It is an ideal game for Youngsters to learn eye hand co-ordination prior to taking up tennis to become the next Andy Murray or Laura Robson, without the strain on their body by wielding a full size tennis racket. It’s great for all ages, especially those wishing to keep active in later life.
Pickleball is a racket sport that combines elements of tennis, platform tennis, badminton and table tennis. It is easy to learn, fast-paced and extremely fun to play due to the long rallies that occur throughout a game.
Pickleball is almost always played in doubles, although singles is also very popular and fun to play, especially for those looking for a greater challenge.
Why is pickleball becoming so popular?
- A new player can enjoy the sport and experience long rallies on the first day of playing.
- Players with racket-sport experience will find that their skills transfer immediately.
- More advanced players enjoy the fast-paced, competitive challenge that pickleball offers.
How did the sport get its name?
Pickleball has a very interesting name, especially since no pickles are used. Accounts of how the name originated differ.
(1) According to Joel Pritchard’s wife (Joan), she started calling the game pickleball because “the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats”.
(2) However, according to Barney McCallum, the game was officially named after the Prichard’s dog Pickles who would chase the ball and run off with it. According to McCallum, “The Pritchard’s had a dog named Pickles and you’re having fun at a party, right? So anyways, what the hell, let’s just call it pickleball.”
Others claim both accounts may actually be true. In the early years, no official name was assigned to the game. However a year or two after the game was invented, the Pritchard’s purchased a cocker spaniel and named it Pickles. As the game progressed, an official name was needed and “Pickleball” was it.