Why Is It Called Pickleball?

Why Is It Called Pickleball?

The name “pickleball” came from Joel Pritchard’s dog.

Pickleball is the fastest-growing game in the United States. However, while moving ahead, it’s necessary to understand where the sport comes from. We’ll go into the history of the game, how it got its iconic nickname, and how widespread it is now.

The Origins of Pickleball

Pickleball was first introduced in 1965. Joel Pritchard, a Washington congressman, and Bill Bell, a prosperous entrepreneur, returned to Pritchard’s house on Bainbridge Island, not far from Seattle, Washington after a summer of golf.

Both Pritchard and Bell liked to play badminton on an outdated badminton court. Their kids also had an interest in playing badminton, yet they couldn’t always find the appropriate gear to play.

They made it up as they went along, using table tennis paddles and a perforated plastic ball. It all started by volleying the ball backward and forth across the net, which was set at badminton net height (60 inches).

As the weekend proceeded, they discovered that the ball rebounded effectively on the asphalt pavement and decided to shorten the net to 36 inches.

The next weekend, Barney McCallum joined and started playing, and the three guys came up with the pickleball regulations. The men recalled that the game was designed to be a pastime that the entire family might practice when they were idle.

Pritchard’s buddy and neighbor Bob O’Brian built the first dedicated pickleball court in his garden in 1967. The National Observer released the first feature about pickleball in 1975. And an organization was formed in 1972 to protect the sport. In 1976, Tennis magazine published an article on America’s newest racquet game.

The First Pickleball Competition

The first known competition in the globe was hosted at the South Center Athletic Club in Tukwila, Washington, in spring 1976. Team ONIX’s Steve Paronto came in second, and Team ONIX’s David Lester topped the Men’s Singles.

Since this was such a new game, and the players understood next to nothing about it, they practiced using enormous wood paddles and a softball-sized whiffle ball at the time of the event.

Steve Paranto’s dad, Arlen Paronto, a Boeing Industrial Engineer, designed the very revolutionary composite pickleball paddle. For the flooring and anchoring systems of commercial planes, Arlen used fiberglass and Nomex honeycomb boards.

Before actually selling the company to Frank Candelario, Arlen produced 1,000 fiberglass and honeycomb paddles plus 1,000 graphite and honeycomb paddles.

Pickleball Popularity

Pickleball has spread across all 50 states by 1990. Pickle-Ball, Inc., founded two years later, used a bespoke drill press to produce pickleball in-house. Pickleball Stuff became the first pickleball website in 1999.

In 2001, pickleball made its debut at the Arizona Senior Olympics, with 100 participants, marking it the largest tournament to date. The number of people participating in the activities gradually surged to almost 300.

Pickleball Stuff has compiled a list of 39 known venues to play in North America by 2003, including 10 states, three Canadian provinces, and 150 individual courts.

In December 2009, the first USAPA National Tournament drew over 400 participants spanning 26 states and three provinces throughout Canada.

What’s the Origin of the Name “Pickleball”?

The word “pickleball” typically makes people giggle when they first hear about it, especially because there are no pickles associated. The root of the word, however, is a point of contention. There are two perspectives in this case.

According to Joan Pritchard, Joel Pritchard’s wife, the sport was named pickleball because the mix of sports reminded her of something. As in the pickle boat in a crew, wherein oarsmen were recruited from the remnants of other boats.

Pickleball was called after Pritchard’s dog Pickles, who would follow and run with the ball, according to the second report from Barney McCallum. 

Overview of the Basic Rules

Pickleball can be played as a doubles game (two players per team.) Or as a singles game (one player per team). Doubles is the most popular.

Both singles and doubles use the same size playing surface and follow the same regulations.

Serving Guidelines

  • The serve must be made with the back of one’s hand.
  • The server’s paddle must make contact with the ball below his waist (navel level).
  • The serve is made diagonally across the court and should land inside the borders of the diagonal court on the opposing side.  
  • Only one serve attempt is permitted except if the ball hits the net and stays on the proper service court, in which instance the serve is replayed.

The Sequence of Serving

  • Apart from the first service sequence of every new game, both players on the serving doubles team can serve and score points until they commit a fault.
  • The right-hand court is used for the opening serve of each side-out.
  • If a point is gained, the server changes sides and serves from the left-hand court.
  • The server switches back and forth as more points are scored until a fault happens and the initial server misses the serve.


  • Just the serving team is allowed to score points.
  • Games are being played to a total of 11 points, with a winning margin of two points.
  • Each match consists of two out of three games, with the third game being played to a score of 5 points, with the winner taking two points.
  • So when the score for the serving team is even, the player who served first in the game shall play or receive on the right side of the court; when the score is odd, the player would play or receive on the left end of the court.

Non- Volley Zone

  • The court area within 7 feet on both sides of the net is referred to as the non-volley zone.
  • In the non-volley zone, volleyball is banned. Players are not allowed to perform smashes from within the zone due to this regulation.
  • Any moment a player is not volleying a ball, he or she is allowed to be in the non-volley zone.
  • “The kitchen” is the name for the non-volley zone.


Just like the name, the pickle game is a fun sport. Pickleball has a lot of fans since it can be played in a relaxing or competing context. And it doesn’t place a lot of strain on the player’s body because of the relaxed pace of the sport.

This allows persons who are unable to play faster-paced sports such as soccer or basketball to engage in the sport.

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