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What Is Pickleball? Here’s The Scoop…

Thursday, Aug 18, 2016  |  admin  |  Latest News


Pickleball. What an odd name for a sport, huh? While there is a ball involved, sadly, there are no pickles in play with this particular game. Which makes you wonder why it’s called pickleball in the first place. Here’s the scoop on all things pickleball, including the origins of the funny name:


Who came up with pickleball? Pickleball was the brainchild of Joe Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum. The three friends returned home from a game of golf to find their families bored. To fix that, they decided to play badminton. After setting up the net, they couldn’t find the shuttlecock, so they improvised with a wiffle ball. They lowered the net a bit and used wood paddles they hastily fabricated with plywood from the shed.

What is pickleball? It is a paddle sport that combines several elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. It is played on a smaller, badminton-sized court with a modified tennis net. The paddle used is smaller than a tennis racket but larger than a ping-pong paddle, and the plastic ball used in play looks very similar to a wiffle ball.

When was pickleball invented? It is a fairly new sport, as it was pioneered back in the summer of 1965. It’s only 51 years old!

Where was pickleball created? Pickleball started at the home of Joel Pritchard on Bainbridge Island in the state of Washington. (Interesting sidenote: Joel Pritchard was a State Representative who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for the State of Washington back in 1970.)

Why is it called pickleball? No one knows for sure, as the stories vary. Joan Pritchard, Joel’s wife, has stated that the game was so named because it reminded her “of the Pickle Boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.” Others have stated that the name resulted from the Pritchard family dog, Pickles. Rumors state that Pickles would often chase after the balls they used to play the game.

How do you play pickleball? From the unique underhand serve to hot to score points to staying out of the “kitchen”, here’s an informative video that shows you the basics: (Courtesy of Third Shot Sports)

Better yet, now that we have installed new pickleball courts here at Harbor Club, Larry Price can offer clinics to help you learn how to play. If you have questions or want to get information on the next clinic, feel free to give him a call at (706) 453-1436. See you on the courts!