HomeSportsPickleballPickleball: The Perfect Blend of Fun and Fitness for All Age Groups
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Pickleball: The Perfect Blend of Fun and Fitness for All Age Groups

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In recent years, a new sport has gained popularity in the United States and elsewhere. It’s called pickleballand it’s an easy one to learn, fun to play, and addictive for fans. Pickleball is a racket or paddle game in which two players (singles) or four players (doubles) use paddles to hit a punctured, hollow plastic ball over a 34-inch-high (0.86 m) net until one side fails to return the ball or breaks a rule. This sport is played both indoors and outdoors. 

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Pickleball: Origins

Pickleball History | KreedOn
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Joel Pritchard, who went on to serve in the United States Congress and as Washington’s lieutenant governor, invented the game on Bainbridge Island, Washington, during his summer vacation in 1965. Pritchard and two of his buddies, Barney McCallum and Bill Bell, are recognized for creating the game and determining its rules. The name “Pickleball” was inspired by the Pritchards’ cocker spaniel, Pickles, who used to love chasing the ball during games.

The first pickleball court was set up in Joel Pritchard’s Garden, and the game immediately became popular among friends and neighbors. The inaugural pickleball tournament took place in 1976, and by the 1980s, the sport had become popular throughout the United States and Canada.

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Pickleball Inc. 

Pickleball quickly gained popularity among locals and the creators’ families. Pickle Ball, Inc. was founded in 1968 by Pritchard, McCallum’s son David, and two other friends. The corporation submitted its first annual report in 1972, around the same time that it trademarked the name Pickleball. To meet the sport’s demand, the company created wooden paddles and pickleball kits. Pickleball’s popularity grew and extended from the Pacific Northwest to warmer climates when “snowbirds” introduced the sport to Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Florida. Pickle Ball, Inc. was acquired by PickleballCentral.com in 2016, and the company is now known as Olla, LLC.

Rules of Pickleball

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Pickleball is played on a court with a low net, similar to a tennis court. The game is usually played in doubles, with two players on each side of the court. The objective is to hit the ball in such a way that your opponent is unable to return it. Here are the basic rules:

  • The game starts with a serve, where one player serves the ball to the opponent’s court.
  • The ball must be allowed to bounce before being hit.
  • Players can use their paddles to hit the ball in the air or after it has bounced.
  • Points are scored when a player or team fails to return the ball to the other side of the court.
  • A game is played to 11 points, with a two-point advantage (e.g., 11-9).

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Court and Equipment

The court

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The court’s standard dimensions are 20 feet (6.1 m) by 44 feet (13 m) for both doubles and singles, which is the same as a doubles badminton court. The non-volley line is seven feet (2.1 m) from the net. The baseline is 22 feet (6.7 m) from the net and represents the outer edge of the playing area. The non-volley zone, or “kitchen,” refers to the region defined by the non-volley line, the sidelines, and the net, including the lines. The service court extends from the non-volley line to the baseline. A middle line separates the service court into the left and right sides. 

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Net 

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The net is 36 inches (0.91 m) high on each end and 34 inches (0.86 m) high in the center. The distance between the net posts must be 22 feet (6.7 m).

Ball 

The Basics Of Pickleball | KreedOn
Image Source: Pickle Baller

When the sport was first invented, it was played using a wiffle ball. USA Pickleball (USAP) and the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) have since approved pickleball-specific ball standards. Balls have to be made of a strong molded material with an even surface and contain 26 to 40 uniformly spaced round holes. They must weigh between 22.1 and 26.5 grams and have a diameter of 2.87 to 2.97 inches (73 and 75 mm). 

Paddle 

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For official games, USAP and IFP paddle size guidelines state that the overall width of the paddle must not go over 24 inches (0.61 m); the length cannot exceed 17 inches (0.43m). There are no criteria for thickness or weight. The paddle should be made of a non-compressible product, and the top layer must be smooth. 


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Manner of play

Scoring

Pickleball uses side-out scoring, which means only the serving side can earn a point. The serving team receives one point for each error committed by the non-serving team. When the serving team makes an error, neither team gets a point. When a side-out happens, the two scores are inverted since the score is usually called first by the serving side and then by the receiving side. 

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Serving

When serving, the server must stand behind the baseline on one end of the center line and direct the ball toward the opponent’s diagonal service court. There are two kinds of serves permitted: volley and drop. 

Player Placement 

Aside from the server, there are no rules defining where each player should stand before the serve starts but serve recipients typically begin behind the baseline until they know which way the serve will bounce. The receiver’s partner typically starts close to the non-volley line, sometimes called the kitchen line. The server’s partner often waits behind the server’s baseline until they determine where the first service return will bounce.  

The Non-volley zone

No player shall volley the ball whilst positioned in the non-volley zone or touching any of the lines in the non-volley zone. A player may enter the non-volley zone to play a bounced ball and remain there to play other bounced balls, but the player must re-establish both of their feet outside the non-volley zone before playing a volley.  

Benefits of Pickleball

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So, what makes pickleball so popular? Here are just a few benefits:

  • Social: Pickleball is a social sport that encourages interaction and camaraderie among players.
  • Easy to learn: The rules are simple, and the game is easy to pick up, even for those with no prior experience.
  • Low impact: Pickleball is a low-impact sport, making it perfect for people of all ages and abilities.
  • Fun: Pickleball is a game that’s all about having fun and enjoying the company of others.

Global Status of Pickleball

Pickleball Statistics You Need To Know | KreedOn
Image Source: ThePickleSports

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, with over 4.8 million players as of 2023. It is gaining popularity outside of the United States, with several national and international competitions. Pickleball participation grew in every region of the United States, with the South Atlantic region having the most pickleball players (1.9 million). The Pacific region was second, with 1.5 million players, and the East-North Central region came in third, with 1.4 million players. The U.S. Pickleball National Championships are held near Palm Springs, California, and the U.S. Open Pickleball Championships are played in Naples, Florida. There are thousands of pickleball tournaments throughout the United States, including two professional tours and one professional league.

Conclusion

Finally, pickleball is an interesting game that is becoming increasingly popular, given its quick tempo and entertaining nature. No one is left behind when playing a noisy sport, which efficiently takes care of people’s fitness needs, whether they are children or old. Pickleball is open to everyone without considering one’s experience in sports or age; therefore, it is a great addition for seasoned athletes or novices. Find a stick, locate a court, and have a feel of pickleball.


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