Pickleball. It sounds like a joke. Or maybe a game made up by kids while eating their lunches outside.
However, if you get your facts from Wikipedia, you’ll find that Pickleball started in 1965 on Bainbridge Island when a few friends couldn’t find the shuttlecock to play badminton and started improvising with a whiffle ball. According to Wikipedia, “The unusual name of the game originated with Joan Pritchard, who said it reminded her of the ‘Pickle Boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.'” The Pickles the dog story, however, lives on. In this story, the whiffle ball belonged to the Pickles the dog, who would run after errant balls and try to hide them. However, Wikipedia claims that, “The truth is the Pritchard family didn’t get the dog until 1967, so actually, the dog was named after the sport.”
All of that might lead you to believe that Pickleball is less than serious. It might even give you pause to learn that pickleball, the sport, is growing quickly. But, on June 7, 2014, the NY Times ran a story entitled “At Tennis’s Sunset, Pickleball Is Rising as an Alternative.” Older people who no longer want to tax their bodies playing tennis but who still love sports and love competing, are finding pickleball a perfect substitute.
What is Pickleball?
It’s a mixture of badminton, tennis and table tennis. According to the USAPA, “Pickleball is a fun game that is played on a badminton court with the net lowered to 34 inches at the center. It is played with a perforated plastic baseball (similar to a whiffle ball) and wood or composite paddles. It is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.”
How to Play Pickleball
Here’s a short instructional video on Pickleball basics.
What equipment do you need to play Pickleball?
Pickleball paddles come in a variety of weight and sizes. The heavier the pickleball paddle, the more power it has; the lighter the paddle, the more control. Lighter paddles may be easier to maneuver but can also cause more vibrations. Some pickleball paddles may be made of graphite which can also make them a bit lighter, graphite is a super strong material that is also extremely thin.
Pickleball balls are similar to wiffle balls. The balls have holes throughout and travel at 1/3 the speed of tennis balls. They come in both indoor and outdoor and are usually white or yellow.
Learn more at USAPA Pickleball