What is Pickleball?

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is the sport taking the world by storm. But what actually is pickleball. Well to put it simply, it's a sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. It is played on a badminton-sized court with a slightly lower net than a tennis net and with a perforated polymer ball similar to a whiffle ball. The game is played with wooden or composite paddles, similar to those used in ping-pong (only larger). Most commonly the paddles are made from the graphite, fibreglass, carbon fibre or a blend of each.

Check out our explainer video below:



Where did it start?

Believe it or not pickleball was first invented in the 1960s by Joel Pritchard, a state representative from Washington, and Bill Bell, a professional basketball player, as a way to keep Pritchard's children active during the summer months. It quickly gained popularity and is now played by people of all ages and skill levels across the United States with its popularity growing rapidly across the UK and Europe.

Here are some key features of the sport:

  • Pickleball is played by either two players (singles) or four players (doubles).
  • The ball is served diagonally from the right-hand side of the court to the left-hand side for the first serve, and then from left to right for the second serve.
  • The ball must bounce on the ground before it can be hit back over the net from the serve.
  • Points are scored when the opposing team is unable to return the ball or hits it out of bounds.
  • The first team to reach 11 points (with a lead of at least two points) wins the game.
  • No Volleying in the Kitchen (Non-Volley Zone)

Why's it called Pickleball?

There are 2 main theories behind why its called pickleball. The first and most popular theory is that whilst Joel and Bill (the creators of the sport) were playing in their garden, Joels dog called Pickles would often run off with the ball. In homage to him they decided to name the sport Pickleball. The second is a based on a reference to the thrown together leftovers of a "Pickle Boat" race crew. You decide which one to believe.

The Court

We have created a graphic below to help you visualise the size of a Pickleball Court.

Size and dimensions of a Pickleball Court


Additional Information

Some of the benefits of playing pickleball include:

  • Pickleball is easy to learn and is suitable for players of all ages and skill levels.
  • It is a low-impact sport, making it easier on the joints and less likely to cause injuries.
  • The smaller court size makes it easier to cover the entire court, which can be beneficial for players who are not as mobile.
  • Pickleball is a great cardiovascular workout, as it requires quick movement and good hand-eye coordination.

There are also several organizations that oversee the sport of pickleball, including the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) and the International Pickleball Federation (IPF). The USAPA is responsible for promoting the sport in the United States, setting rules and regulations, and hosting tournaments. The IPF is the international governing body for pickleball and is responsible for promoting the sport globally.

Pickleball has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, with more and more people discovering the sport and joining organised leagues and tournaments. It is a fun and exciting sport that can be enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner, pickleball is a great way to stay active and have fun.