The History Of Pickleball: How It All Began

The Origins of Pickleball: A Game Behind the Name

  • Birth of a new sport: The historical moment pickleball began

The history of pickleball is a fascinating story of invention, community, and unexpected growth. The game was invented in the summer of 1965 by three dads: Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. They were looking for a way to keep their kids entertained during the summer, and they came up with a game that combined elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong.

  • Unveiling the birthplace: Tracing where pickleball started

The first game of pickleball was played on a badminton court in the backyard of Pritchard’s home on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The game was an instant hit with the kids, and soon their friends and neighbors were asking to learn how to play.

bainbridge island, WA

  • Profiles of ingenuity: Who were the people behind starting pickleball

Joan Pritchard, married to Joel, one of the inventors of the sport, coined the name “pickleball” in 1965. She drew inspiration from the “pickle boat” in rowing, where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats. This explanation, confirmed by the USA Pickleball Association, debunks the popular belief that the game was named after the Pritchards’ dog, Pickles. The beloved canine joined the family in 1968, three years after pickleball’s invention.

VIDEO: The History of Pickleball

By 1968, Pritchard, McCallum, Bell, and their fellow enthusiasts had formed a company called Pickle Ball Inc. Each member contributed $500 to fuel their innovative game’s development, promotion, and sales. For a mere $29.95, they offered starter kits complete with paddles, plastic balls, and nets, making pickleball accessible to everyone. Their dedication and passion paid off, and in 1976, Tennis magazine bestowed upon pickleball the prestigious title of “America’s newest racquet sport” (“History of the Game”).

Pickleball’s Growth and Spread

By 1967, the first permanent pickleball court was built in the backyard of Bob O’Brian, a friend of Pritchard. The game began to spread throughout the Pacific Northwest thanks to word-of-mouth and demonstrations. The first official pickleball rulebook was published in 1976. There have been many changes to the rules, and the game is known for its unusual scoring system.

Read more on pickleball rules and scoring here!

The first pickleball court

Pickleball’s Demographic: Who’s Hitting the Courts?

  • Diving into the diverse community: Who plays pickleball today?

Pickleball is a popular sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. It is played in the United States, Canada, and many other countries worldwide. Pickleball can be played both indoors and outdoors, making it a versatile sport that can be enjoyed in many different settings.

The sport is often played in community centers, recreation centers, parks, and private clubs. Pickleball has gained a reputation as a fun and social game that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy.

Many players enjoy the friendly and supportive atmosphere of the pickleball community, and the sport is often used as a way to stay active and healthy while socializing with friends and family.

Pickleball became Washington’s official state sport on March 28, 2022

  • From driveways to championships: Where is pickleball played globally?

In the United States, pickleball is played in all 50 states, and there are over 15,000 courts available for players to use. In addition to the United States, pickleball is also played in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries.

  • The multifaceted appeal of pickleball to different age groups and communities

Pickleball is a rapidly growing sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages worldwide. There are several reasons why this sport has become so popular. Firstly, pickleball is a low-impact sport that is easy on the joints and can be played by people of all fitness levels. This makes it an excellent choice for older adults who want to stay active without putting too much strain on their bodies.

Secondly, pickleball is a social sport that can be played with friends, family, or in organized leagues. This means that people can enjoy the physical benefits of exercise while also spending time with loved ones and making new friends.

Thirdly, pickleball is a relatively simple sport to learn, which makes it accessible to a wide range of people. The basic rules of the game are easy to understand, and players can quickly improve their skills with practice. Get a small pickleball ball hopper basket and some balls and head to the practice court! Here is my favorite the Tourna Mini Pickleball Hopper which holds 22 balls!

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pickleball mini hopper basket            Franklin X-40 Pickleballs







Lastly, pickleball is a fun and exciting sport that can be played both indoors and outdoors. The fast-paced nature of the game makes it an excellent way to improve hand-eye coordination, agility, and overall fitness.

The multi-faceted reasons why people of all age groups enjoy pickleball include its low-impact nature, social aspect, simplicity, and fun nature. It is a sport that can be played by people of all fitness levels and is an excellent way to stay active while also having a good time.

pickleball is enjoyed by all ages

Recap of the History of Pickleball

For a game that was started just over a half-century ago, it has grown into the fastest-growing sport in America in the past few years. The original intention by the founders, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum to give their kids something to do that was fun, has been surpassed in ways they would never have predicted.

From local courts and gyms to mega tournaments and even the fast-rising professional game, pickleball’s history has played out like a fairy tale. One can regularly see pickleball being played in TV commercials with people enjoying themselves while they exercise! It’s caught on like wildfire with its tremendous popularity and addictiveness!

There is even a special recognition by people who play recreational pickleball to the founders of the game. The game will begin on the side of the court that is closest to Bainbridge Island, WA. And so the legend of pickleball continues with an homage to its origins. What will pickleball’s next fifty years look like? A court on every block or backyard? Maybe pickleball will even challenge America’s favorite pastime of baseball as time moves on! One thing for sure is that Pickleball is a rising star in the world of games! Have you played yet?

Leave a comment below if you would like to share about your pickleball journey!

pickleball fun

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