What is Pickleball: The Ultimate Guide

Thomas Roterd
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The sport of Pickleball was originally invented by Ron White in 1965. White was an elementary school principal by trade who watched some kids playing impromptu basketball in a gym. It was halftime during a school basketball game, and the kids had nowhere to go. So they began shooting baskets on the floor of the gym. White got an idea. Instead of a basketball, why not use a whiffle ball?

White later named the sport pickle ball, and in 1971 he founded the American Pickleball Association (APA) and began setting up courts for the game across the country. He played with his first partner, George E. Plummer, who later became known as the “father of pickleball.” Plummer had been a sportswriter for the Tacoma News Tribune, covering tennis, and he was also the club pro at the Tacoma Athletic Club.

White and Plummer were joined by Jerry Hedden, a well-known woodworking hobbyist and craftsman. Hedden liked the sport and came up with his own innovations that he patented. The three became partners, and under the name APA, they formed the governing body of the game, the official rules, and a national tournament that is still held each year.

The Origin of Pickleball

As the name might suggest, Pickleball was initially designed to be a blend for the family-friendly game Ping Pong and a game played by Navy veterans called paddle ball. The game was based on the portable and popular paddle-based sports of badminton and tennis. And while there is some controversy over who created the game, there are a few pioneers who are still around to discuss the history.

In 1956, at the age of 12, Joel Pritchard got his mother to buy him his first paddle-based game called paddle ball. Many people played it in New England, with a few variations of the game appearing here and there, but the game was barely ever written about.

A few years later, in 1959, David Engen was skilled in the fun-filled paddle-based game and decided to create a way to play the game when the net would not fit in the backyard. He made a few tweaks, made a wooden paddle for some of the players to use, and the game was born.

Of course, the most popular version of the story is about Joe Decker, another guy from the New England area. In 1960, Joe and a buddy were in the Army National Guard and he created his own version of paddle-based tennis called paddle tennis. He submitted the game to a baby boomer magazine and it appeared in the magazine’s very first issue.

Pickleball equipment

The smaller courts also mean less equipment, which is usually all the lighter and cheaper.

When you are looking for a paddle, start by looking at the two main styles on the marketplace.

The first is made of plastic and is designed to look like a ping pong paddle. These paddles tend to be more durable.

The second style is the wooden pickleball paddle. They are a bit more traditional and substantial than plastic paddles and thus make for a better match in terms of style and overall aesthetics. These paddles are mainly designed from ash hardwood.

When you are choosing a pickleball paddle, it’s important to find one that is well made. The difference between an inferior model and a more superior one is not just how well it will perform, but how long it will last you.

If you’re not a serious player and only need an item for a hobby or for the family, then the cheaper variety will do. However, if you’re playing in a league or competitively, look for a high-quality paddle.

One of the aspects to consider when choosing a paddle is the grip. If you plan to play for extended periods of time, it’s important to have a good grip to reduce fatigue and discomfort.

Pickleball Paddle Brands

Pickleball paddles are generally made of wood. Not only wood materials that are commonly used in table tennis paddles, but any other hardwood material can be used as long as the material can result in a paddle with good control quality.

The grip, shaft, and the paddle head should be made from wood. The only non-wood materials that are allowed for pickleball paddles are the cord and sometimes the eyelets and string that is attached to the rubber. Usually, the string is made of cotton and the eyelets are made of stainless steel.

High quality pickleball paddles are not only strong and durable, but the paddles are also affordable and are made in many different countries. The best pickleball paddle might also work for players on all levels. Many pickleball paddles are also manufactured by using different materials, so a good pickleball paddle model can be made out of aluminum, resin, graphite or wood. The material used to make the pickleball paddle will help determine the price of the paddle.

Traditional pickleball paddles are specifically small sized, but new generation pickleball paddles now come in various sizes, such as the oversized and oversized paddle. Therefore, you can now adjust the size of the paddle depending on your preference and skill level. You can also choose a pickleball paddle based on the age and height of the player.

Pickleball Courts

Pickleball courts can exist in almost any space, as the court is so simple to create. Simply mark out the court using cord (or chalk if you have a really long space to mark), set up the net, and you’re good to go.

Depending on the location of your court, you may need to make a few modifications to ensure that your court will comply with local bylaws (in some areas, courts must be placed 60 feet away from the nearest property line) and that you won’t bother residents or inconveniencing others in the area. As long as you are practicing good etiquette, almost anyone can play!

Pickleball courts are generally 8 feet by 12 feet. Since the court is so simple to create, you’re not limited to the specific dimensions. However, some areas have specified regulations on court size. If you’d like to ensure that your court meets regulations, you can contact your local parks and recreation department or even check with your local courts if they have any regulations in place. Then, it’s simply a matter of remembering the specific dimensions and creating your court.

How To Play Pickleball – Pickleball Rules

Pickleball is a sport that was originally invented in 1965 for senior citizens to play. Because of its extremely simple rules and the fact that it’s relatively easy to play, the sport has gained popularity among all age groups making it one of the fastest growing sports in America. Originally, the sport was called pickel-ball, but during the 70s the name was changed to pickleball which better suits the game itself.

Pickleball is a paddle sport, played on a court that is half the size of a tennis court. It has been mainly classified as a variation of badminton and tennis, but it also includes aspects of racquetball, table tennis and even canoe paddling. It is played by two players, one on each side of the court. A typical game involves serving and hitting the ball with a side armed motion with the paddle. You score by sending the ball into the opposing side’s court. The complexity of the game is that there is a net, which means that, unlike tennis, the ball can bounce twice after serving.

The game can be played either indoors or outdoors. The outdoor courts are more popular among players because of the flexible size. While the official dimensions are 9.5”x27”, people can adapt it to their liking by making it smaller or larger. However, there are some basic rules to be followed.

General Overview

Pickleball is a family sport that has built a huge following across the country. A type of paddle ball, Pickleball is played on indoor or outdoor courts with a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong.

Generally, rules that apply to tennis and table tennis pertain to Pickleball. However, there are some unique and specific rules that we will go over in this section that apply to Pickleball.

Different from paddle tennis, which is played on a tennis court, Pickleball is played on a badminton court, just with smaller paddle equipment. The game is played using a perforated plastic ball that has holes in it to allow it to inflate, and equipped with a paddle with a big handle and a small pocket, about nine inches in diameter, at the far end of the paddle. Players hold the paddle from the handle side and strike the ball with a downward motion in a downward-serving motion. Players rotate from side to side serving. Serving begins at the non-volley side (right side in doubles). All other rules of badminton pertain.

Court & Net

A court width of 28-32 feet is about the international standard. You can play at courts with narrower widths, and you can play at courts that are up to 40-feet wide.

23-feet wide is best for intermediate play, while 30-35 feet is a good width for advanced players. Wider courts are generally favorable for power hitters and high-level play because they give you more room on offense and quicker ability to cover more ground on defense. However, they do take considerably more space and are therefore harder to find.

If you’re playing on a court that’s about 40-feet wide, you might as well commit to being a power hitter and not compromise your shots by playing a ball up that would normally be a lob.

The standard court length is 40 feet long. Again, you can play on a shorter court, but if your court is too short, you will quickly reach an area where you can’t advance the ball without becoming either a net hitter or making a stationary net hit. That’s why you should generally try to stick to a minimum length of 40 feet in high-level play.

The International Federation of Pickleball recommends 13 feet in width and 10 feet of dead air space on both sides of the net.

Format of Scoring

Pickleball rules include a written set of Official Rules of Pickleball. They address issue like net heights, proper attire, the dimensions of the court, offensive interference, and scoring methods. In ESPN pickleball, certain playing levels also have regulations on the dimensions of the paddle.

But those official rules only tell you a part of what you need to know in order to enjoy the game. Courtesy and etiquette also play a major role in pickleball. Many people are surprised to learn that once you learn the rules of Pickleball, you can play Pickleball anywhere, whether you are in a park, a gym, or a school gym.

In competitive Pickleball, you can also play pickleball one on one. There is no right or wrong way to play. Each adult can adopt their own games skills to make Pickleball fun for everyone.

What are Faults?

What are Penalties?

Pickleball is a relatively new sport in the United States (it was invented in 1965). According to USAPA, the pickleball association, there are more than 350,000 players in the US. It is played by adults and kids alike, and the pickleball association reports that more than 1,100 pickleball courts have been installed in communities across the country.

Faults and penalties are a part of almost every sport. Usually, violations of the rules are accompanied with either a fault or a penalty.

A fault occurs when a player breaks a rule and it is considered an infraction. Depending on the severity of the fault, a player may lose their serve or receive a point penalty.

A penalty occurs when a player breaks a rule but it is not considered an infraction. For example, a player may receive a penalty because they forgot to serve, and the opposing team would receive the point.

The difference between penalties and faults in pickleball aren’t too different from other sports. The key is to understand when a fault or penalty occurs and why.

Pickleball Serving Rules

Pickleball is an extremely easy game to learn to play. And it’s also a great fit to play with almost anyone. It’s a combination of tennis, badminton, and Ping-Pong, which makes it perfect for children, adults, seniors, and anyone in between. It’s also inclusive and appealing because it can be played indoors or out, and at nearly any temperature. Pickleball is considered a racket sport that involves hitting a perforated polymer ball, similar to a wiffle, with a wooden paddle. You have to hit the ball across a net into an area designated for your opponent. If you are wondering how to get started with pickleball, you are probably wondering what the rules are. Read through the following list for a more detailed explanation.

Sequence of Service

In pickleball, alternating service is called for, meaning that only one person serves and receives at a time. To begin the game, the server serves two consecutive serves.

The server will stand behind the serving line after the first serve. After the second serve, the server passes the ball to the left and can serve from anywhere behind the end line. When receiving, the receiver will stand behind the receiving line at the beginning of the game. He or she can move anywhere beyond the center line after the first serve.

Each service is counted as one point. Players will then switch sides of the court at the end of that point and the service rotation restarts … once one has served twice, the other must also serve twice.

The main difference between the rules behind pickleball and tennis service rules is in the placement of the ball. In pickleball, the ball must be hit within the court; an overhit serve will count as a loss of serve.

A fault is awarded to the server if the ball is out of bounds, or if the ball has not touched the ground during the service (unless the receiver is not ready).

If a fault is given to a receiver, it is the receiver’s choice to take the point or the serve. The server will then get two consecutive serves.

The Two-Bounce Rule

You might have noticed at the beginning of this article there wasn’t much mention of actual rules. That’s because pickleball is a game that’s played in a non-competitive way. It’s more about having fun, staying fit and learning the game than about being tactical, focused and winning.

It’s most similar to tennis with two major differences: you have to move your feet and the court is smaller (21ft x 21 ft).

However, while pickleball is a great way to get your feet wet in the world of competitive tennis, it’s generally not considered to be a professional sport (more like a form of yard tennis). You’re playing against other people in a non-competitive environment and there’s an element of fun and games to it.

And there’s a sixth element … the element of fun.

That’s right! There doesn’t appear to be a set of hard-and-fast rules (see how we’re avoiding using the word rules?) When two players are having a match, they tend to just come up with whatever rules make it more interesting.

The Kitchen or Non-Volley Zone

Most people don’t realize that the kitchen is a desert for volleyballs. This Zone is the longest, but also the least dangerous zone. You can dodge around people who are cooking without knocking anything over. There is some bounce back from the linoleum flooring and slow down your shots, but the flooring is smooth enough that it’s not too hard to aim your shots.

Where Can You Play Pickleball?

One of the biggest challenges with any sport is certain seasons that you can’t play due to weather, as well as finding places to play. It’s often the expense to build fields and courts that has slowed down the growth of many great sports. Pickleball is not one of those.

Most cities have public parks, and if they don’t, there are likely neighboring cities that are willing to make a deal.

Every community center has the space for a pickleball court. Any facility that has a tennis court can be converted with a pickleball net, and courts can be created on tennis courts using the lines.

There’s also a fair amount of pickleball on the water in the form of pontoons. The city of Cordova Arizona has the unique experience of a pickleball pontoons with five courts on Lake Lowell.

But if you like to play in air conditioned comfort, you can always rent a room from the local university. As more and more people join pickleball, there are many places to play indoors during cold or rainy days.

The Future of Pickleball

How A Unique Sport Has Become a Lot More Popular Than You Think

It’s no secret that Pickleball is becoming increasingly more popular. It’s estimated that around 10 million people played the game last year, and that number is expected to continue to rise.

As we discussed in a previous article, modern-day Pickleball is technically a sport, not a game, where players use a plastic or wood paddle to hit a plastic ball. And, while it’s similar to tennis in that it’s played with a ball and racquets, there are quite a few different aspects that set Pickleball apart.

Because we mentioned the game was inadvertently invented in 1965, you may be wondering who invented Pickleball. Well, that would be 2 people, Kenneth C. ’Bud’ Misek and Wilfrid Reid ’Doc’ Summers. Together, they created the first plastic ball to be used in the sport; Misek served as a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, and created the sport in an attempt to keep his colleagues occupied while serving overseas.

Now that you know a bit more about the history of Pickleball, let’s take a look at how the sport works.