The game with the funny name!
After playing golf one Saturday during the summer, Joel Pritchard, congressman from Washington State and Bill Bell, successful businessman, returned to Pritchard’s home on Bainbridge Island, WA (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 ping-pong paddles 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.
Pickleball was created in 1965.
The first rulebook was published in March, 1984 and "the USAPA was formed in 2005 to promote the sport. It maintains the official rules, sanctions tournaments, provides player rankings and produces the annual National Pickleball Tournament. It is run by an Executive Director and a volunteer board of directors supported by thousands of dues-paying members." ~USAPA. In 2020 USAPA rebranded as "USA Pickleball", aligning more consistently it with other US sports governing bodies and our USA Pickleball National Championships. ~USA Pickleball
There are more than 4,004,113 total participants that play pickleball. (~SFIA report 2021) Up from more than 2,815,000 participants in the 2017 SFIA report! The average age for all players is 41 years old. (~SFIA report 2019) From 2019 to 2020, there was a 21.3% increase in pickleball participants. In 2020, there were 2,578,000 male pickleball participants and there were 1,193,000 college graduate pickleball participants. (~SFIA report 2021)
Where to play?
There are currently 8,235+ places to play in North America alone. Find locations by clicking "Where/When to play?" or download our "Pickleball Locator" app on the Apple, Google and Amazon Appstore’s.
Pickleball, The 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 in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats”. (2) However, according to Barney McCallum, the game was officially named after the Prichards’ dog Pickles who would chase the ball and run off with it. According to McCallum, “The Pritchards 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 Pritchards purchased a cocker spaniel and named it Pickles. As the game progressed, an official name was needed and “pickleball” was it. ~USA Pickleball
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