What is Pickleball and Why You Should Play It
Pickleball is a growing sport that has recently made its way into the lives of many people. It is a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. Pickleball is played on a court that is smaller than the size of a tennis court, and players use paddles and a plastic, perforated ball. It's easy to learn, fast-paced, and fun for all ages and skill levels.
Let's take a look at what pickleball is all about:
Definition of Pickleball
Pickleball is a paddle sport created for all ages and skill levels. The game combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, and can be played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court. It is played with a hard paddle and a plastic ball with holes. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced competitive game for experienced players.
Pickleball can be played as single or doubles with two or four players. A pickleball court is typically measured at 20′ x 44′ with a net that stands at 36” in the center. The object of the game is to score points by using your paddle to hit the ball into your opponent's court while they are attempting to do the same. Scoring occurs when an opposing player lets the ball bounce twice on their side of the net without successfully returning it before you score 11 points (win by 2).
Due to its fast growing popularity, pickleball has been included in various national sports competitions such as 2017 Asia Pacific Masters Games in Malaysia where it was introduced as an official competition sport for the first time in Asian continent. Moreover, special recognition has been given to USAPA (USA Pickleball Association) by its inclusion into 2019 PanAm Games which will be held in Lima Peru.
History of Pickleball
Pickleball is an exciting addition to the world of racquet sports and has been around for over 50 years. It was created in 1965 on Bainbridge Island in Washington State as a backyard pastime for founders Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum and their families. This family friendly sport has grown from its humble beginnings to a game enjoyed by millions of people around the world.
Pickleball’s major growth came in the mid-1970s and 80s when pickup game spaces sprang up across the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. The first tournament was held in 1976 at Tacoma's YMCA. In 1984, the United States Pickleball Association (USAPA) was formed with the mission of promoting pickleball so that everyone could enjoy this fun game.
Today pickleball is played by individuals of all ages and abilities as well as professional athletes. There are regional and national tournaments all over the world, championships between countries each year, junior camps dedicated to teaching young people how to play, online communities devoted to pickleball discussion, instructional seminars held to learn from the pros, leagues that bring friends together for lifetime fitness goals…the list goes on and on!
Pickleball is an increasingly popular sport that is similar to tennis but is played with different equipment and on a smaller court. As you may already know, the main piece of equipment used in pickleball is a paddle that is usually made of wood, aluminum, or graphite. Additionally, players use a special perforated, plastic ball as well as a net that is placed at a lower height than in tennis.
In this section, we'll look at all the different pieces of equipment needed to play pickleball:
- Perforated, plastic ball
Pickleball paddles can range from basic to high-end in terms of both materials and build quality. Cheaper varieties are often made of wood, while more expensive paddles can include graphite, aluminum, polypropylene, and other composites.
Different paddle shapes offer different levels of power, control, stability and spin potential when hitting the pickleball. Paddles with a larger face size generally provide more power and stability for players who are hitting the ball with double-handed strokes or power smashes. A paddle with a smaller face may not have as much hitting power but offer players greater control on their shots due to the increased accuracy offered by a smaller hitting area.
The cost of a pickleball paddle typically increases as the quality and materials used improves.
Pickleball balls come in three different varieties to accommodate players of all levels and preferences. Plastic balls are most often used for recreational purposes and are suitable for beginner players. Graphite composite pickleball balls are generally used in high-level competitions, as they offer a longer lifecycle and enhanced interaction with the paddle.
Rubber soft paddleballs are also available and provide a slower hitting speed than the plastic or composite models, making them ideal for elderly or less experienced players. These rubber balls also produce less noise than their plastic counterparts.
Nets are an essential component of pickleball and come in several sizes and styles. Portable nets usually have plastic frames and extend up to 22 feet long (the same width as a tennis court). Non-portable nets are either wheeled or elevated and range from 30-36 feet long. Nets for outdoor pickleball courts should be 42 feet long and 36 inches high.
Nets can be divided into two parts – top net and bottom net. The top net, also known as ‘headband', is a band made from nylon webbing that runs across the top of the net system at a 36-inch height, with tautness adjustable enough to pass ‘the bounce test’ (a securely tightened rope around the grommet when the ball bounces back to hand 1-2 times). The bottom net attaches to the lower portion of the frame, usually just below waist height with varying heights reaching up to 38 inches (sometimes down to 21 inches for junior play). Bottom nets need not pass ‘the bounce test' as they have more give than the upper part of the net. Also important is an additional 18-20 inch ‘drop down’ section attached directly underneath. This section allows proper doubles play where contact with ground level shots is possible without coming into contact with the bottom of a raised pickup line or frame edges lying flat on playing surface.
Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It is most commonly played as a doubles game, but can also be played as singles. The primary objective of the game is to hit the ball over the net and into an area that the opposing team is unable to return.
To ensure a fair game, there are some specific rules that must be followed when playing pickleball. Let's take a look at what these rules are:
While there are variations on the rules of pickleball, the following is a comprehensive guide to the general regulations:
- Scoring: The serve will begin at 0-0 and each time a side puts the ball in play, then that side has scored a point. The game can be played to 11 points with score increments of two. In tournaments, the game is typically played to 15 points with score increments of two. When a team reaches eleven (or fifteen), it continues until one team has two more points than their opponents. If both teams reach 20 points, then players must win by two points, up until 21 and beyond. There must also be a 1-point margin for either side in order for them to win; for example 13-14 will result in a tie game and must continue until either team scores 2 more points than their opponent.
Before beginning a game of Pickleball, players must decide who will serve first. The players may decide the order of servers through a number of methods, such as rock-paper-scissors. Players can also choose to spin a racquet or shut their eyes and guess which hand has the racquet in it. The winner serves first to start the game and each player on the other side serves after them in the same order.
When serving, players must stand behind the baseline at an upright position facing forward. One foot must remain on either side of the center line and both feet cannot be completely over it for any part of their swing. When hitting the ball, both feet have to remain on the ground and they have to hit downward over their waist using an underhand stroke that is below shoulder height.
If it’s a regular serve (not an “Let” serve), then they should hit it straight into service zone opposite them without touching any part of non-volley zone (also known as the “kitchen”). If they fail to do this then they are then considered to have missed their serve and will lose one point out of four served balls total in that turn. After four consecutive serves are bad, a player loses that turn at serving, but if all four consecutive serves are good then player does not lose that turn until all points during one turn were played out by 2 teams alternatingly batting about ball back/forth between each other therewith assuming “0” score initially or current score thereafter being determined with adding 1 point per filling out each successful rally halfway from either team's side if net was hit twice consecutively by two different teams throughout single rally exchange (happens when no errors present).
Volleying is an important part of the game of pickleball. When the ball is served, volleying is allowed until the ball bounces off the court surface or net. Many rules apply to volleying that players must be aware of to play properly, as outlined below:
- Players are allowed two consecutive volleys and then they must allow the ball to bounce before volleying again. This includes any combination of singles or doubles players.
- Volleys that occur after the third strike will be returned with a groundstroke and will not count as a volley for either side.
- If the ball lands on the non-volley zone line (the area around the net extending 7 feet from either side) a point may only be awarded if that player does not make contact with the court within 7 feet from where they hit it. If a player does make contact within 7 feet from where they hit it, no point is awarded and play continues as normal.
- Groundstrokes cannot be made directly off of a pickleball boundary line (a boundary line drawn continuously along all four sides of a playing area). If this occurs, then no point can be awarded and both sides must replay stroke under regular rules.
Pickleball is a rapidly growing sport across the world. It is a racquet sport which combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis. It can be played in both singles and doubles formats and is gaining in popularity due to its accessibility. It is also a great game for developing different strategies.
This section will discuss the various strategies used in pickleball and how they can be used to improve your game:
Dinking is a critical skill to master in pickleball and can help players take control of the game. The technique involves hitting the ball with a low, slow arc that lands just over the net and can be used for both singles and doubles play. Dinking can be an effective way to get the opponents out of position, as well as an important defensive tactic where players hit the ball lightly and control their opponents’ shot selection.
Players must approach dinking as an element of their overall strategy in order to be effective. When dinking from up close, it is recommended to hit gently off your paddles sweet spot to maximize spin and accuracy. In addition, proper footwork is key when positioning yourself for successful dinks. Most importantly, practice patience when considering when you may use your dink shots – the best place is often right after you have hit a hard shot at your opponents’ weak spot on the opposite side of the court or right off of their serve return!
Third Shot Drop
The third shot drop is a common advanced strategy used in the game of pickleball. It is usually the third stroke of the rally sequence, played from the non-volley line (NVL), and designed to put pressure on opponents by forcing them to overhit, rush their shot, or hit it inaccurately. The stroke is then followed with a soft dink that can travel slow over the net, in an effort to keep your opponent off balance.
In order to execute a successful third shot drop, you need to be comfortable at making contact with a balls which have landed deep in your side of the court, while being comfortable using an open stance. The ball will be dropped from your hitting arm and should land just inside the kitchen or just outside it before it passes over the net – both short and deep shots can add pressure when done effectively!
The main goal for this shot is for it to land softly and low so that you will have enough time to move into position for the ensuing dink. This means you must think ahead and give yourself time instead of rushing your drop shot. Additionally, look at where your opponents are standing so that you can tailor your placement accordingly; if they are close together then try to aim between them while if they are spread out aim further away from their racket’s midpoints – as either option can create a trouble spot for them!
The lob is a critical shot in pickleball as it allows players to control the direction and pace of the ball more accurately than a hard hit. By changing elevation, spin, trajectory, and speed of play, the lob creates an interesting tactical element that can easily surprise your opponent. Effective use of the lob allows experienced players to remain in control for extended points and wear down their opponents over time.
The key to mastering the lob is knowing the appropriate time to use it. It can be used for offense and defense, but when playing offense it is important to understand when and why you should use a lob instead of an aggressive forehand or backhand volley. When playing defense, incorporate the lob into your strategy by using a ‘push/lob’ combination on opponents’ smashes or hard shots near you so that they have fewer chances to retaliate against your return.
In addition to knowing when to use the lob you should also think about how you want to choose which type of shot you want: high or low, deep or short. Depending on how far away your opponent is from their baseline these decisions become even more important. Additionally, varying spin is an effective way to keep your opponent off balance as they will have difficulty anticipating what comes next without expecting some amount of spin in each shot. With practice and dedication, learning how to master different elements than come with the lob – such as power and angles – will help take your game up another level!
Ultimately, pickleball is an incredibly fun game that encourages good sportsmanship, quick decision-making, and excellent physical fitness. It is rising in popularity as more and more people are exposed to its unique combination of aspects from other sports like badminton and tennis.
If you haven’t yet played pickleball, don’t wait any longer – head out to your local court today and get ready for some serious fun!