The fast-growing sport with the funny name celebrates National Pickleball Day on August 8 each year.
National Pickleball Day was originated by pickleball instructor and enthusiast Deirdre Morris in 2021 to encourage folks to learn how to play the game.
To help you understand the sport of pickleball, let’s look at how it came to be.
History of Pickleball
Pickleball was born on Bainbridge Island, Washington, a vacation area near Seattle. Two friends, Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell, looked to play some badminton on a badminton court but couldn’t find the proper equipment.
Joel and Bill improvised and played with a plastic Wiffle-type ball and table tennis (aka ping-pong) paddles. They eventually lowered the badminton net from about five feet high to about 3 feet high. Another friend, Barney McCallum, joined the crew the following weekend, and the three men set about devising the game’s rules.
The objective of the game: Devise a pastime that the whole family would like to eliminate boredom.
How did Pickleball get its Name?
Why is it called pickleball? Since pickleball is now some 57 years old, I guess it’s understandable that there might be varying creation story debates. Perhaps the most significant difference is in how the name originated.
Joan Pritchard, Joel’s wife, remembers calling it pickleball because the equipment used – ping-pong paddles, tennis racquets, etc. – reminded her of the pickle boat in crew. The “pickle boat” oarsmen are chosen from the leftovers of other boats.
The second name origination story is remembered by Barney McCallum, who thought the sport was named after Pritchard’s dog, Pickles.
We may never get to the bottom of this question, but trust us, it’s no big dill. (Sorry.)
How is Pickleball Played?
Pickleball is like a cross between tennis and ping-pong. Points are only scored on service. All serves must be underhand.
The rules are relatively simple. In a nutshell, there is the two-bounce rule: the receiver of the server and the receiver of the return of service must let the ball bounce. After that, volleys (hitting the ball before it bounces) are allowed.
The kitchen area – a 7-foot area on both sides of the net – is a restricted area for volleys. You must not hit a volley from the kitchen or go into the kitchen after hitting a volley. However, you may go into the kitchen at any time. If the ball bounces, you may hit the bounced ball from the kitchen area.
Doubles play is significantly more popular than singles. A pickleball court size is considerably smaller than a tennis court – 44’ long by 30 feet wide – which makes for a more conversational sport.
There are lots of strategies and tactics associated with pickleball. For example, “if the ball is shoulder high, let it fly” refers to the tactic of letting harder hit balls go by and out of bounds for the point.
Another example: when playing doubles, hitting the ball equal distance between the opposing team players can create confusion and a poorly struck ball.
You can purchase a paddle for anywhere from about $15 for the cheapest to some paddles costing well over $200. Pickleballs cost around $2 each. A good court shoe will cost you $50 to $150, although you can spend more.
Rising Popularity of Pickleball
Pickleball participation soared by almost 40% between 2019 and 2021. Some 4.8 million folks play the game.
“It is the fastest growing sport in the U.S., And we see that trend continuing,” says Laura Futterman, spokesperson for the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA).
Celebrate National Pickleball Day with our collection of pickleball jokes, quotes, and slogans.
They call me the Seth Curry of pickleball.
All of my shots are nothing but net.
Did you hear about the pickleball player who called his serve a “Dairy Queen”?
Yes, it was a soft serve.
What do you call a woman standing in the middle of a pickleball court?
Why did tom charge the pickleball net?
Because he was out of cash.
See more Funny Pickleball Jokes.
Too many people don’t know what (pickleball) is, and I have to explain it, and it’s a lot of effort.
Ben Johns (#1 men’s pickleball player as quoted in the Washington Post)
…Last weekend I was walking from one court to the other during a tournament and a person was behind me and they just said ‘Catherine!’ And I jumped, and I looked back. And she said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. It’s just you’re my favorite player.’ And I thought it was so cute that she said that. It’s cool for sure. Even a little bit overwhelming.
Catherine Parenteau (#1 women’s player in the world in singles and doubles)
I’m competitive, so any sport I get into, I’m going to try to compete in it.
You need to practice, of course. But social media is important, and all these different things. I have more and more people helping me. An agent, a social media agent. I knew that pro tennis players had to do that stuff, but I wasn’t aware how much work it takes to be a full-time professional. But it’s pretty cool. I’m not complaining.
Catherine Parenteau (as quoted in the Desert Sun)
It is what it is; once you’re into it, you don’t even think about the name anymore.
Ben Johns on the name, pickleball.
I can see how people think it’s an old person’s sport before I started playing, I thought the same thing. Then my mind was blown.
Anna Leigh Waters (15-year-old pickleball sensation as quoted in Insider.com)
Slogans for Pickleball
Hit me with your best shot.
Great minds dink alike.
Dink Forrest, Dink!
Adulting can wait; let’s play pickleball.
I’m experiencing a mid-court crisis.
OMG: One more game.
The spin cycle is on high.
I dink; therefore, I am.
See more of the Best Pickleball Slogans and Captions.
By Mike O’Halloran
Mike is a former tennis instructor and avid pickleball player.
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