Pickleball: 25 Must-Know Facts (History, Stats, Trivia, …)

Did you know Pickleball has been in existence for more than half a century? If you are surprised to learn about this fact, then brace yourself for more to come.

If you’re a newcomer to Pickleball, in this article we’ll help you get up to speed on this game. This sport, which is considered, in the last decade, to be among the fastest-growing sports in North America, is here to stay.

Hang tight because we’ll be sharing many facts about this up-and-coming sport!

These are 25 interesting facts about Pickleball.

1. The game was invented in 1965 by Congressman Joel Prichard and his friends.

The game has its roots in Bainbridge Island, Washington where it was conceived by three fathers with the aim of entertaining their children. In the summer of 1965 Joel Prichard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum created the game know, today, as Pickleball.

2. The origin of its name is disputed.

There are two different versions of why the game is called Pickleball. (1) According to Pritchard’s wife, she recalled referring to the game as Pickleball because it resembled her “of the pickle boat seamen, where rowers were chosen from the remainders of other boats. (2) The second version comes from Barney Callum. According to him, the game got its name after Pritchard’s dog “Pickles,” who during the game, would enjoy chasing the ball.

3. A sport for players of all ages and skills.

Unlike many sports that people just can’t play before or after a certain age, Pickleball is truly a sport for people of all ages. On a Pickleball court, you can find kids as young as 5 years old, or elders as old as 80 (or even 90) years old. The fact that the game is popular among recreation centers, as well as, in retirement communities is proof of its versatility.

4. The game is also played at a professional level.

The sport began as one for all ages and levels of skill, but a professional level emerged over time. Pros meet to compete on annual events pitting players against each other on a national, as well as, global level. Also, there is a teaching association known as the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA) which preserves the quality of the game among coaches.

5. It’s a world-wide sport.

As the sport became known and interesting among different people in the world, it led to the creation of what is known as the International Federation of Pickleball, an organization that helps in regulating the sport itself in countries such as the US, France, Canada, Spain, and Great Britain, to name a few.

6. The first official Pickleball court was build in 1967.

The first-ever built permanent and professional court for this sport was constructed way back in 1967. From there, the love for this game has contributed to the construction of thousands of other courts across the US and other parts of the world. In fact, the number is still growing as more and more people learn and play the game.

7. The sport is taught in schools.

Since it’s a social and low-impact sport, a large number of schools, as well as, colleges in the US are teaching the game, starting from elementary school all the way to high school. Mostly, Pickleball is taught and conducted in schools as part of physical education.

8. The First US Open championship was held in 2016.

Since 2016, professionals have competed in the Minto US Open Pickleball Championships, showcasing their great skill and athleticism. The events have gained a following since their inception and promise to keep crowds coming in future years.

9. It can be played indoors or outdoors.

Unlike badminton, where professionals matches are, only, held indoors, a Pickleball game can be played indoors, as well as outdoors.

10. It’s a very affordable sport to play.

Staying true to its roots, Pickleball is quite affordable to play. When it started out, equipment was improvised out of items gathered around that were unused. Today you can find all the equipment you need for under $35. This is what it would cost you to get a wiffleball and paddles. High-end pickleball equipment goes for about $100.

As for the playing area, literally, any space with a hard surface can be converted into a Pickleball court. You can improvise the lines and net with chalk, chairs, and caution tape.

11. It has a national governing body.

The game has a national body to regulate professional play. It is governed by the United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA) which keeps all the official records for the game and lays out the rules and format for professional tournaments. The association has its headquarters in Surprise, Arizona.

12. You cannot volley in the “Kitchen.”

On a pickleball court, there is an area of 7 feet from the net known as the non-volley zone (a.k.a. the kitchen). Players standing in this area are not allowed to hit the ball in the air.

13. Before any volley is hit, the ball must bounce in each side.

Known as the “Double Bounce Rule,” this rule requires players to let the ball bounce on the first two shots – on the serve, and on the return of serve. For instance, if you’re about to return, you must let the ball bounce before you hit it, and after that, your opponent must, also, let the ball bounce before hitting it. After those two shots, players are allowed to hit the ball in the air, as long as, they are not in the kitchen. This rule makes the game more fun and playable.

14. Pickleball paddles have evolved over the years.

Back in the day, the paddles used in Pickleball were made of wood. As the game changed, the paddle has also become lighter, with materials such as aluminum and graphite being the most used to make the paddle weigh less. The pickleball paddle takes the shape of the ping pong paddle but is a bit bigger, though, not as big as the tennis racket.

15. It’s among the fastest growing sports in North America.

In the last decade, this sport has grown tremendously in popularity. A couple of years ago, Pickleball was recognized as the fastest-growing sport in the US by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Also, according to the USAPA (USA Pickleball Association), in the past six years, the game has seen an increase of more than 600 percent in the number of participants.

16. Florida is the Pickleball capital of the world.

More specifically, the city of Naples, Florida, is, arguably, the Pickleball capital of the world. The city host the annual US Open Pickleball Championship, which attracts more than 10,000 spectators.

17. Players are known as “Picklers.”

Players are referred to as “Picklers.” Besides, in the world of Pickleball, you don’t “lose” a match, instead, you “pickled” a match. Before you start judging, remember that in tennis “zero” is called “love…

18. A “dink” is the equivalents to a drop shot in tennis.

A “dink,” in Pickleball, is a soft shot that is meant to, barely, go over the net and land as close as possible to the net, into the opponent’s kitchen.

19. The game is a mix of several racquet sports.

Pickleball is a sport that mixes parts of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. And although the game has many similarities to these sports, it has its own rules (like the non-volley zone and the double bounce rule) that make the sport unique and attractive.

20. It’s an inclusive sport.

Both the USAPA and IFP have put in place adjusted rules that allow wheelchair, as well as standing participants to play together. Besides, just like many racquet sports, Pickleball can be played as singles and as doubles.

21. A Pickleball ball travels about 1/3 the speed of a tennis ball.

Unlike tennis balls, Pickleball balls are made of plastic and have holes on them, which makes the ball travel slower than tennis balls.

22. You only get points when serving.

In a pickleball match, the player/team who is serving can only score points. For instance, if you’re playing singles and you win the point while your opponent is serving, you don’t get a point. In this case, it will be “side out,” which is when the other side gets the chance to serve.

23. There are no second serves.

Unlike tennis where players have a second chance to serve, in Pickleball, if you miss your serve, you’re out of luck. Also, serves must be underhand.

24. There is no official dress code.

This does not mean that you should just wear anything, even though no one would stop you. Typically, regular athletic apparel is the norm. Also, many players go into the pickleball court wearing tennis apparel. Plus, wearing tennis shoes is common.

25. It’s a very social sport.

Since Pickleball is commonly played as doubles, you get to socialize with other players quite often. Besides this, the fact that a Pickleball court is 1/4 the size of a tennis court, you find yourself interacting with players more than in tennis.

All in all

Pickleball is a fun and interactive game that participants enjoy playing at all ages. Since 1967, when the first permanent court was constructed, the game has improved a lot and caught the attention of the American public.

Have you ever played the game before? If you haven’t, then you should try it soon. These days, you can find many free online resources with all the tips and instructions to improve your game, for both the newcomers and seasoned ones. It is a game definitely on the rise, and you will be glad to get in on the action.