Looking for Tennis and Racket Sports International News?

The RacketSTAR Tennis News Blog and Article Feed gives you up to the minute news and information about the Players and Sports Updates.

Pickleball Origin Story


Pickleball has a unique and interesting origin story that dates back to the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The sport was created by three friends—Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. Here's the origin story of pickleball:

  1. A Game for the Family:
    • In the summer of 1965, Joel Pritchard and his family returned home to Bainbridge Island after playing golf. The Pritchards and their friends were looking for a way to entertain their children and keep them active.
  2. The First Pickleball Court:
    • Joel Pritchard and his friend Bill Bell had an old badminton court on Pritchard's property. They decided to lower the badminton net, improvised paddles, and used a perforated plastic ball—similar to a Wiffle ball. The court was small enough to fit in Pritchard's backyard.
  3. Naming the Game:
    • The origin of the name "pickleball" has a couple of different stories. According to Joel Pritchard's wife, Joan, the game was initially named after the Pritchards' dog, Pickles, who would chase after the ball. However, Barney McCallum, one of the game's creators, recalls that the name "pickleball" actually came about because it reminded him of a boat "pickle boat" in crew racing—a boat that includes oarsmen from various classes.
  4. Spread and Growth:
    • Pickleball gained popularity on Bainbridge Island and quickly spread to nearby areas. The game's simplicity, accessibility, and appeal to people of all ages contributed to its rapid growth.
  5. Official Rules and Equipment:
    • Barney McCallum, along with the Pritchards and Bell, worked to establish official rules for pickleball. They also created standard equipment specifications, including paddle dimensions and net height.
  6. Pickleball Association:
    • In 1972, the first pickleball association, the "USA Pickleball Association" (USAPA), was founded to promote the sport and establish standards. The USAPA has played a crucial role in organizing tournaments, setting rules, and overseeing the growth of pickleball.
  7. Global Popularity:
    • Pickleball's popularity has grown not only in the United States but also internationally. It is now played in various countries, and its inclusive nature has made it a favorite among people of different skill levels and ages.

Pickleball's success can be attributed to its combination of elements from tennis, badminton, and table tennis, creating a unique and enjoyable sport. Today, pickleball is played on both indoor and outdoor courts, and it continues to attract new enthusiasts around the world. The sport has evolved with standardized rules, equipment, and a growing community of players. 

Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

Common Tennis Strokes
Chip and Charge

Related Posts