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Home > What is Pickleball
What Is Pickleball?

Well here's some information to sink your teeth into about Pickleball!
There's even a pickleball intro video at the bottom of this page... scroll down and check it out!

Pickleball... once upon a time... back in 1965...
after playing golf one Saturday during the summer of 1965, Joel Pritchard, congressman from Washington State and Bill Bell, successful businessman, returned to Pritchard's home on Bainbridge Island, WA to find their families sitting around with nothing to do. The property had an old badminton court so Pritchard and Bell looked for some badminton equipment and could not find a full set of rackets. They improvised, cutting shafts of the damaged rackets and found a perforated plastic ball. The rackets didn’t work very well, so the dads created four wood paddles, similar to today’s wood paddles. At first they placed the net at badminton height of 60 inches and volleyed the ball over the net. As the weekend progressed, the players found that the ball bounced well on the asphalt surface and soon the net was lowered to 36 inches. The following weekend, Barney McCallum was introduced to the game at Pritchard’s home. Soon, the three men created rules, relying heavily on badminton. They kept in mind the original purpose, which was to provide a game that the whole family could play together. The Pritchards had a cocker spaniel named Pickles, who became interested in this new game. Whenever a ball would come his way, he would take the ball and run off with it, because it was Pickles\' ball. This is how the game got its name.
1967 – The first permanent pickleball court was constructed in Joel Pritchard’s backyard in Seattle, Washington during the winter of 1967.
1972 – A corporation was formed to protect the creation of this new sport.
1975 – The National Observer published an article about pickleball followed by a 1976 article in Tennis magazine about “America’s newest racquet sport.”
1976 – During the spring of 1976, the first known pickleball tournament in the world was held at South Center Athletic Club in Tukwila, Washington. David Lester won Men’s Singles and Steve Paranto placed second. Many of the participants were college tennis players who knew very little about pickleball. In fact, they practiced with large wood paddles and a softball sized whiffle ball.
1984 – USAPA “was organized to perpetuate the growth and advancement of pickleball on a national level.” The first rulebook was published in March, 1984. The first Executive Director and President of USAPA was Sid Williams who served from 1984 to 1998. He was followed by Frank Candelario who kept things going until 2004.
1984 – The first composite paddle was made by Arlen Paranto, a Boeing Industrial Engineer. He used the fiberglas/nomex honeycomb panels that commercial airlines use for their floors and part of the airplane’s structural system. Arlen made about 1,000 paddles from fiberglas/honeycomb core and graphite/honeycomb core materials until he sold the company to Frank Candelario.
1990 – By 1990, pickleball was being played in all 50 states.
1997 – Joel Pritchard passed away at age 72. Though he was Washington State’s Lieutenant governor from 1988 to 1996, he is probably better known for his connection to the birth of pickleball.
2003 – There are 39 known places to play in North America listed on the Pickleball Stuff website. This represents 10 States, 3 Canadian Provinces and about 150 individual courts.
2003 – Pickleball was included for the first time in the Huntsman World Senior Games, held each year in St. George, Utah during October.
2005 – Mark Friedenberg was named the new President of USAPA. He created a Board of Directors …
2005 – Steve Wong (Past USAPA Webmaster) created the new, improved USAPA website that went live in March. Bill Booth took over as webmaster in May, 2006. Website activity continues to increase as the popularity of pickleball grows and the features of the website increase.
2005 – USAPA became a Non-Profit Corporation on July 1.
2006Pickleball Central (our parent company) was founded. This company has grown into the largest supplier of pickleball equipment worldwide.
2008 – The Rules Committee, headed by Dennis Duey, published the USA Pickleball Association Official Tournament Rulebook – Revision: May 1, 2008.
2008 – Pickleball has been included for the first time in the National Senior Games Champion Festival to be held in Providence, Rhode Island September 4 – 7.
2008 - There are now 420 places to play in North American as listed on the USAPA website. This represents 43 States and 4 Canadian Provinces and about 1500 individual courts. This does not take into account those places that are adding courts or the many courts at private homes.
2009 - The first USAPA National Tournament for players of all ages was held in Buckeye, Arizona, November 2-8, 2009. The tournament drew almost 400 players from 26 states and several Canadian provinces.
2010 - The Villages, the mammoth active adult community in central Florida, boasts 150 outdoor Pickleball courts and 2,000 players, according to Masters Athlete Magazine, which ranked The Villages the top community for Pickleball in North America, calling it "Pickleball Paradise."

The pickleball court is identical to a doubles badminton court. Actual size of the court is 20×44 feet for both doubles and singles. The net is hung at 36 inches on the ends, and 34 inches in the middle.

Here are a few Pickleball Terms and Definitions:
* Baseline — The line at the back of the pickleball court (22 feet from the net).
* Centerline — The line bisecting the service courts that extends from one side to the other.
* Crosscourt — The opponent\'s court diagonally opposite yours.
* Dink — A Dink occurs when a ball gets hit to 'kill' its speed and have it land in the non-volley zone.
* Double Bounce Rule — After a serve, the receiver must let the ball bounce, and then the server must let the return shot bounce also, after which the ball can be played off the bounce or volleyed.
* Fault — An event that ends with the server giving up his serve to the other side.
* Foot fault — When ones foot enters into the non-volley zone.
* Half-volley - A type of hit where the player hits the ball immediately after it has bounced in an almost scoop-like fashion.
* Let serve — A serve that touches the top of the net and lands in the proper service court (it is replayed without penalty).
* Non-volley zone — A seven-foot area adjacent to the net within which you may not volley the ball. The non-volley zone usually includes all lines around it.
* Poach — In doubles, to cross over into your partner's area to play a ball.
* Rally — Hitting the ball back and forth between opposite teams.
* Serve — An underhand lob or drive stroke used to put a ball into play at the beginning of a point.
* Server number — When playing doubles, either “1” or “2,” depending on whether you are the first or second server for your side. This number is appended to the score when it is called. As in, the score is now 4 - 2 - second server.
* Sideline — The line at the side of the court denoting in- and out-of-bounds.
* Volley — To hit the ball before it bounces.
* Players - 2-4

Here are a few basic pickleball rules:
* The Lines: The baseline is the back of the court. Any balls bouncing past this line are considered out. When serving, you must stand behind this line. Sidelines and the baseline should be painted so that the court dimension falls at the outside of the line. A ball is good if the center of the ball falls on the line. On the serve, a ball hitting the non-volley zone line is considered a fault. Your ball must bounce inbounds on the other side of the court for it to count.
* The Non-Volley Zone: A line seven feet from the net delineates the non- volley zone. You are not allowed to hit the ball without letting it bounce first if your foot is on or between this line and the net, or if you stumble into this zone after hitting the ball. You may not serve the ball into the non-volley zone.
* Scoring and Winning: A team gets a point when they win a rally that they served. When a point is won, the players of the scoring team switch sides of the court , so the serves comes from the other court. The first team to score 11 points wins (must win by two points).
* The Serve: The player on the right always serves first. The ball must contact the paddle below the waist using an underhand motion and must land in the diagonally opposite court, beyond the non-volley line. The server must hit the ball without bouncing it first. Both players on a team will serve before the service passes to the other team. To keep the first service of a game fair, only the first player serves during the first service of the game.
* Keeping Track of Scoring: Because players switch sides with each point, a simple scoring system was devised to keep track of who is serving. Before each serve, the server calls out his team’s score, the other team’s score, and then whether he is the first or second server for his team. For example, if his team has 5 points, the other team has 3, and his partner has already served and lost the point, he would call out, “5, 3, Server 2.”
* The Return: The receiving team must let the ball bounce before returning the serve. Also, the serving team must let the returned ball bounce once more before hitting it back. This means that there will be two bounces during the first two hits of the rally (known as the double-bounce rule).
* Singles Play: The server serves from the right side of the court when his or her score is even and from the left side when the his or her score is odd.

What is Pickleball