What is Pickleball? What to Know About This Growing Sport

pickleball tournament
Source: pickleball.com

Pickleball is becoming a favorite with people of all ages. Not only is it easy to learn, but it’s also competitive. I was interested in knowing more about the sport I did some research, and here’s everything I found about this sport.

What is Pickleball? Pickleball is a game or a sport that resembles racquet sport. It combines elements of table tennis, badminton, and tennis. It can have two or four players who use wood paddles to hit a perforated polymer ball over a net.

The USA Pickleball Associates conducted a study and found that the number of people joining had grown to 20,000 in 2017, from 4,000 members in 2013. Below is everything you need to know about Pickleball, and how it works.

History of Pickleball

The invention of Pickleball started in 1965 when Joel Pritchard had guests at home. History suggests that he had a badminton court in his backyard, but he couldn’t get the equipment to play. They thought of ways to spend their time and came up with paddles. They tried out different balls and thought of using a whiffle ball.

It got its name from the congressman’s dog, who was Pickles. He kept stealing the ball; this led to the ball being the Pickleball. The sport began to be a favorite in 2005; it has now become a fast-growing leisure activity around the U.S.

What You Need to Get Started with Pickleball

For starters, you need a Pickleball, that resembles a whiffle ball.it should be a bit tough and durable. You don’t need to follow any rules on the type of Pickleball to play indoors or outdoors. You’ll find most people prefer playing the sport outside with a plastic dura or Onix ball.

It’s possible to play indoors with a big hole dura or massive jugs. The ball you select depends on your preferences.

You also need a paddle that looks like the ping pong paddle. It should move when you turn your wrist. Wooden paddles are a cheaper alternative in most places. However, you can opt for a paddle made of fiberglass, as it’s durable and lightweight.

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Some manufacturers give you the paddles with balls; this simplifies your work. You can also find graphite paddles which are stronger, but more expensive than fiberglass or wooden paddles.

Another thing you need to have is the court. The court should be 44ft. long and 20ft. wide. Also, the net should be 34 inches in the middle and 36 inches high on the edges. Having a small court makes it easier for children or those with different mobility levels to participate in the game.

Tennis courts are something huge, and this may make it challenging younger players to get in the game. The seven feet space from the net reduces overpowering smashes and equalizes play at the net.

How Do You Play Pickleball?

You require a court that is one-third the size of the badminton court. Moreover, you need wooden paddles, a tennis-style net, and a light plastic ball. The game has elements of table tennis, tennis, badminton, and racquetball, one of the reasons why Pickleball is a favorite with most people.

The game may seem familiar if you’ve played table tennis, badminton, or racquetball in the past. One thing about this game is that you can get on a court and play even without any experience.

Is There a Difference Between Pickleball and Tennis?

Although most people think of the two as being similar, they have a difference. With Pickleball, you serve underhand, and the singles/doubles are played in the same-size court. Moreover, there is a seven-foot no-volley zone, which extends from the net. You can hit the ball in this place after it has bounced.

Why is Pickleball Popular?

The Sports and Fitness Industry Association shows that there were three million Pickleball players in the US in 2018.

Pickleball is simple to learn, and you can play it at any age. What’s more, you don’t need any special equipment or clothing. All you need is to be comfortable. You can play Pickleball indoors or outdoors with a simple tennis net and a badminton-sized court.

Most racket sports require you to have the power and speed, but this game also needs finesse. You need to have the right strategies to win this game, which makes it competitive for both the young and old. It’s fun to play due to its different elements.

Another reason attributed to Pickleball’s growth is the association’s ambassador program. The program has over 1000 volunteers throughout the US, and their work is to recruit new players, who in turn spread the game.

The USAPA National Championship came up with a category for men and women over 85, with the oldest being 100 years. Pickleball is taught in colleges and schools.

Pickleball is a fun social activity that allows you to be close enough to each other to have a conversation. You get to engage in a fun workout and bond with your friends and family.

Rules of the Pickleball Game

When playing Pickleball, you need a ball that is harder and smaller than a whiffle ball. The court needs to be one-third as massive as a tennis court. The ball should have 2 ¾ inches in diameter. Pickleball allows various permitted paddles for official use. You can find high0end paddles that cost upwards of $100, but there are plenty of beginner-friendly options at a reasonable price.

Serves are made underhand from the baseline diagonally to the opponent’s service court, changing from the right and left. The service and serve return needs to bounce once before striking the ball. Returns can include volleys. The servers score when an opponent fails to return the ball over the net.

A game is won when a team or player has eleven points and leads the other side by two points. A match occurs when there are two out of three games.

While you need to play Pickleball on a court, the rules may resemble those of badminton or table tennis. Some of those rules include:

The service has to start from the right-hand court; you only have one fault

The game begins with one side serving the Pickleball, using a wooden paddle and a paddle to hit the ball.

The person playing has to have his feet behind the line. He needs to hit the ball with an underhand swing. You need to aim the service court diagonally over the net. Ensure that you clear the no-valley zone.

Both players can serve once if there are doubles. The serve goes to the opposing team after being served. The teams need to allow the Pickleball to bounce before hitting it with the paddle once from when the game starts. Players need to hit the ball without allowing it to jump as long as they aren’t within a no-trolley zone.

A team or player scores points only when serving. A win needs to be by two points, while the sport needs two points. It’s essential to understand that some moves are faults which includes failing to clear the net by volleying the ball before it bouncing on a first return or first serve.

You can also lose points if you fail to clear the net or hit the ball out of bounds. Also, volleying the ball when the foot is in the net.

Who Plays Pickleball?

Pickleball is a sport that everyone can participate in, as it doesn’t have set rules or require special gaming equipment. You don’t need to run or cover as much ground as you would with tennis. It’s a fantastic game if you need to stay in shape.

You can participate in it for a casual day out, but its competitive edge makes it as fun as a tennis match. A report by SFIA shows that 75% of the leading Pickleball players are 50 or older. The research also shows that less than 14% of casual players are older than 50.

The game is a favorite in the Pacific region, as that’s where it was invented before growing to become a nationwide sensation. You can find Pickleball venues that include parks, schools, and recreation centers with Pickleball courts.

Moreover, you can find places to play on places2play.org. There are over 6,000 places to play, which represents an increase in the locations each month.

Final Thoughts

What is Pickleball? Pickleball is an accessible, inclusive, affordable, and non-elitist sport that goes above economic and social barriers. Moreover, Pickleball doesn't have many requirements regarding equipment. All you need are paddles with smooth, hard surfaces, balls with holes, and a court like that of badminton.

The sport has varying playing styles, something that makes it fun and enjoyable. You don’t need any sport experience or pro athletic skills. All you require is to get into the court and try this sport.

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