What The Hell Is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a fun and rapidly growing racket sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It was invented in 1965 by Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum in Bainbridge Island, Washington, as a way to entertain their families during the summer. Since then, the sport has gained popularity across the United States and worldwide, with players of all ages and skill levels participating.

Here’s an overview of the main components and rules of pickleball:

Court: The pickleball court is similar in size to a badminton court, measuring 20 feet wide by 44 feet long. It includes a 7-foot non-volley zone on each side of the net, commonly referred to as the “kitchen.” The net height is 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches at the center.

Paddles: Pickleball paddles are generally made from wood, composite, or graphite materials. They are larger than table tennis paddles but smaller than tennis rackets, measuring around 15-18 inches in length.

Ball: The pickleball is a perforated plastic ball, similar to a whiffle ball, with holes that allow it to travel through the air. There are specific balls designed for indoor and outdoor play, which vary in weight and hole size.

Basic Rules: Pickleball can be played in singles or doubles format. The game starts with an underhand serve, which must be hit diagonally across the court into the opponent’s service area. Once the ball is in play, players must allow it to bounce once before they can volley it (hit it in the air) in the non-volley zone or “kitchen.” Points can only be scored by the serving team, and the first team to reach 11 points, with a 2-point lead, wins the game. In some instances, games may be played to 15 or 21 points.

Scoring: The serving team’s score is called first, followed by the receiving team’s score. In doubles, each player on the serving team gets a turn to serve before the serve changes to the other team. The serving team’s players alternate serving until a fault is made, which results in a change of serve.

Pickleball is known for its accessibility, social aspects, and emphasis on strategy over brute force. It can be played both recreationally and competitively, with many local clubs, leagues, and tournaments catering to players of all skill levels. The sport is particularly popular among seniors due to its low impact and moderate physical demands.