Have you ever visited a public park where you see several people lining up along courts, which may look like tennis or badminton courts at first glance, only to realize minutes later that the “players” are not bringing any of the familiar badminton or tennis rackets?
As you continue watching the game from afar, you further realize that the game you’re watching is so familiar and yet, it’s so bizarre.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the game of Pickleball!
Pickleball, just like with any other invention, was created out of necessity, particularly the necessity to cure boredom. Or at least that was what Pickleball inventor, Joel Pritchard, said. Mr. Pritchard, a state representative, invented Pickleball one afternoon in 1965. After playing golf, he and his friends wanted to play badminton but couldn’t do so since they didn’t have badminton rackets. They decided to craft paddles out of old sleds, and thus the basics of this sport came to be.
The inventor could’ve given it a different name. So, why did it end up being named “Pickle” ball? Well, one version of the tale said that it was named after the owner’s dog, Pickle. But that proved to be fake news. The sport got its name from rowing, where a boat with different members is often called a “pickle boat”.
Fast forward to the present, Pickleball is now being played by at least 3 million enthusiasts. It’s one of the fastest rising sports in the USA (and possibly the entire world!).
The game is simple because the rules are straightforward. To play pickleball equipment, you need a wiffle ball, two paddles (some are made out of composite materials, some are made out of plyboard), a net (with a height of 36” at the poles and 34” at the center to account for “sagging”), a court 20’ wide and 44’ long.
The court is divided into a right and left side, with a 7” area near the net called the “kitchen”. This area is a no-volley zone.
Pickleball can be played by singles or doubles. The pickleball rules in a singles game are pretty much like badminton. The server starts on his right and moves to the left as he scores. Service transfers to the opponent if he’s in fault, but the opponent doesn’t gain a score.
To avoid an initial server getting an advantage, both players should observe the two-bounce rule where after serving the receiving team should allow the ball to bounce once on his court before returning it. Then, the initial server should also allow the ball to bounce once on his court before initiating a rally.
Usually, a game of pickleball is decided with a race to 11, with the winning player or team leading by at least 2 points. Some formats include a race to 15 or 21.
This is a simple glance at the history and general rules for the game of Pickleball. We invite you to read the USAPA’s 2020 fact sheet here for further details and take free lesson on us here to learn from the world’s best!