When Was Pickleball Invented?

Pickleball is a sport that has been around for many years, with a lot of history behind it. The game is a combination of ping-pong, tennis and badminton, and has been popular in the United States since it was first invented in the 1960s.

This article will look at the history of pickleball and discuss when it was invented.

Overview of Pickleball

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It is played both indoors and outdoors on a court the size of a doubles badminton court. The game is played with a lightweight plastic ball like a Wiffle ball and graphite or composite paddles.

The sport of Pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, USA by three friends – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. The name Pickleball comes from Joel's wife – Joan Pritchard – who suggested the name after observing that the combination of different sports reminded her of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from leftovers of other boats.

Pickleball has become increasingly popular over the years as it involves little physical contact so it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. The basic rules are simple to understand and require only minimal equipment – making it an attractive game for recreational players around the world!

History of Pickleball

Pickleball is a sport that has been around since 1965. The game of pickleball was invented by Joel Pritchard and his family as a way to pass the time while in Washington State. Since then, the sport has spread across the world and is enjoyed by people of all ages.

Let’s take a look at the history of this popular sport:

Origins of Pickleball

Pickleball is considered to be one of the fastest-growing sports in North America. The game was invented by three Seattle-area men, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum, in 1965. However, the exact story behind its invention remains something of a mystery.

According to one version of the pickleball origin story, Pritchard was inspired to create the game while visiting his friend McCallum's summer home on Bainbridge Island. After a game of badminton played with a Wiffle ball and ping pong paddles turned out too difficult for Pritchard's children and their dog Pickles, he modified the equipment and devised new rules to make it an easier game for all involved.

However another version says that Pritchard was challenged by his children – Jack and Joanie – to invent a new game they could play together using some equipment they had lying around. After tinkering with equipment and rules to make it easier for everyone involved – including Pickles – it took on its own identity as pickleball: a hybrid of tennis, table tennis, badminton, platform tennis and ping pong.

Whatever inspired its creation, pickleball has grown into an international phenomenon with teams from all over the world competing in tournaments now held on every continent except Antarctica! Today you can find people playing pickleball just about anywhere you go as its popularity continues to rise due to its low cost of entry – all you need is some paddles and a net or wall – and fun factor that appeals across generations.

The Invention of Pickleball

The sport of pickleball is derived from a combination of other sports, such as tennis and badminton. It is believed to have been created in Washington State in the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island by Joel Pritchard, a former Congressman who, with his family and friends Bill Bell and Barney McCallum, sought to create a game that could be enjoyed by all.

It is unclear exactly what led Joel Pritchard and his friends to invent this new sport. However, it is known that the original game was played with ping-pong paddles, badminton rackets and a perforated plastic ball similar to a whiffle ball. The net used was an old badminton net lowered to 36 inches (91 cm) at the center. From these humble beginnings, the sport quickly spread throughout various parts of the United States as it gained popularity over time.

Today's official pickleball rules have evolved over time so that now modern pickleball nets are regulation height at 34 inches (86 cm). The paddles are made with composite materials for better control and durability than the original ping-pong paddle design used at the start of play. The ball has also been improved from mesh or plastic material and now uses hard polymer or composite materials for increased durability even with high-impact play hitting practice shots or slams at full power.

Pickleball's Popularity

According to the official website of the USA Pickleball Association, the sport of pickleball has seen massive growth in popularity and participation over the last two decades. After it was invented in 1965 by Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum as a lawn game for their families on summer days in Washington state, it quickly spread to other recreational facilities and private clubs around the United States. Within a decade, there were tournaments being held across the US.

Today, pickleball is one of the most popular sports among all age groups. USA Pickleball estimates that there are now over 2 million pickleball players in North America. The sport has seen a surge of junior players since 2018 thanks to initial exposure from public parks and youth programs. Tournament play is still common and rules have been formalized by USA Pickleball Association to ensure fair play at all levels. There are also national ranking systems for intermediate and advanced players like those used for tennis or baseball teams.

Rules and Regulations

Pickleball is a relatively new sport, having been invented in 1965. The game is based on a combination of ping-pong, badminton, and tennis and can be played with two to four players.

In order to make sure that the game is fair and enjoyable, there are some rules and regulations that need to be followed. These rules help to ensure that every game is played in a safe and enjoyable manner. Let's take a closer look at the rules and regulations of pickleball:

Court Dimensions

Pickleball court dimensions change depending on age and skill level of the players. The standard court size measures 20 ft x 44 ft, while a smaller court may measure 16 ft x 36 ft. The full-size court measueres 20ft x 44ft with a baseline-to-baseline measurement of 34ft.

The non-volley zone (also called the kitchen) measures 7ft from the end lines and extends 17 ft on either side of the net. There is no non-volley zone in U18 divisions June 2019 and subsequent season forward. All alleys measure 15” wide, and all nets should be 2 1/4” high at 36′ for regulation play, except for U18 divisions June 2019 and subsequent season forward where nets will be no higher than 2 feet at 33′.

Within the USAPA rules, all court designs must consist of one of three colors: green, blue or dark red. When using green playing lines however, it is recommended that you use white for visibility purposes. White has become approved as an additional permissible color in some States as well as other parts of the world because it is easier to identify than other colors used occasionally on pickleball courts such as black or yellow.


Scoring is one of the more difficult rules to understand for first time players. The game of pickleball is played to 11 points; however, a game must be won by two points. So if the score is 10-10, the next team to score wins with a total of 12. The team that reaches 11 first will only have one point advantage until it reaches 12 with a two point advantage over its opponent.

A point is scored when the opponents fail to return the ball correctly, or when a player serves the ball out or into an area where it can’t be returned correctly by their opponents. Points can also be earned when both players hit volleys that aren’t returned correctly.

As soon as one team has scored 11 points and has gained a two-point lead they win the game; this means that there is no tiebreaking system used when playing pickleball.


Pickleball is a recreational game that originated in the mid-1960s. It is typically played on a court with special pickleball paddles and a perforated polymer ball somewhat similar to a wiffle ball, and uses the rules established by the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA). In order to play, all players must use an approved pickleball paddle and ball, depending on court size.

Paddles for playing pickleball must be USAPA-approved or sanctioned by another international pickleball association. They are generally made from graphite or composite materials and come in different shapes and styles. The length of the paddle should range from 17 to 20 inches (43 to 51 cm) long for adult players, though most recreational players favor shorter paddles for improved maneuverability around the court.

As for balls, most international tournaments require players to use one distributed by the USAPA called Official Tournament Pickleballs. These have holes that create 66 percent air resistance compared with a solid ball, allowing them to travel slower while still being easily returned over the net. Lighter balls can be used during practice games and those intended for beginners or those with physical limitations due to age or injury. However, these should not be used in official matches due to their tendency to travel too slowly across the court surface.

Pickleball Today

Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. It has been around for over 50 years, originating in the mid-1960s as an impromptu summertime activity enjoyed by a group of families near Seattle, Washington. Today, pickleball is enjoyed by millions of people around the world, appealing to both recreational and competitive players alike.

Pickleball Tournaments

Pickleball tournaments are competitive events in which players of all levels and ages compete in one or multiple divisions of game play. A tournament may be single elimination, double elimination, or a pool play format with the winner determined by points earned in the matches. Some tournaments may also combine formats which provide both singles and doubles competition in different brackets.

Pickleball tournaments can be sponsored by local pickleball clubs, organizations such as the United States pickleball Association (USAPA) as well as professional associations. Many larger national and international tournaments are sanctioned by USAPA and offer tournament rating points to players who excel at the event. Additionally, USAPA also sponsors a National Championship for amateur players over the age of 50 for major divisions of play, including singles and doubles in different skill levels.

These major tournaments bring together experienced players from around the world and offer spectators action packed games with all the excitement that comes along with competition against highly skilled opponents – all while having fun!

Pickleball Leagues

Pickleball is an increasingly popular racquet sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping pong. It is typically played on an indoor court with a hard paddle or racquet and a wiffle or polymer ball.

Pickleball has become increasingly popular, with local leagues and tournaments offering competitive play for all ages and skill levels. Most pickleball teams in the US are made up of 2–4 players who compete against other teams in their city or county. Some competitive teams even travel to nearby regions or states to compete at larger tournaments.

There are also organizations dedicated to promoting pickleball in the US such as the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), which was established in 2005 by a small group of dedicated pickleball players who recognized the need for structure and regulation for this growing sport. The USAPA strives to educate about pickleball rules and regulations, sponsors tournaments, and keeps records on players’ performances at different events throughout the year.

Finally, there are many local clubs that offer clinics and social play so people can learn how to play pickleball, practice their skills, make friends and just have fun doing something new! Whether you want to join a league or just brush up on your skills, check out what’s available near you by visiting your local Recreation Department or searching online for local pickleball clubs near you!

Pickleball Clubs

Pickleball clubs across the United States and around the world are growing quickly due to the increasing popularity of this unique sport. Pickleball is a great way for people of all ages and abilities to stay active and have fun. Most communities feature both indoor and outdoor pickleball courts which allow for year-round play in any climate.

In addition to providing recreational opportunities, pickleball clubs also offer:

  • Competitive tournaments
  • Standards set by USA Pickleball Association
  • Training and development programs
  • Instructional events
  • Organized pickleball leagues
  • And more

Not only do these clubs bring together friends new and old who are passionate about pickleball but they also build strong community ties as they strive to promote health through physical activity. Many clubs also offer a variety of membership options so that players can enjoy special discounts on items such as gear or court time.

Whether you're an experienced player looking for tournaments or someone just starting out interested in improving your skills, you can find everything you need at your local pickleball club.


The history of pickleball is an interesting one. It was invented in 1965 by Joel Pritchard, William Bell, and Barney McCallum and has now grown to be a popular sport enjoyed by millions around the world.

Pickleball is played at all skill levels, from on the beach to in the pros. It’s a great way to stay active, make friends, and even bond families together with its basic but captivating rules of play. Whether you are a novice or expert, pickleball offers something for everyone.