What is Pickleball

Pickleball is an exhilarating sport that requires its players to be very creative. Sometimes referred to as a cross between badminton, tennis, and ping pong, pickleball is a unique sport that demands unique strategy.

History

Pickleball was created in 1965 on Bainbridge Island (just off of Seattle, WA). Joel Pritchard, William Bell, and Barney McCallum, the co-inventors, explained that their original intent was to give a sport for the whole family. The sport was first conceived on a badminton court. Pritchard was out of functioning rackets, so he compensated with homemade wooden paddles and an old wiffle ball. He invited other people to play and make rules, and the rest, as they say, is history.

So where does “pickle” come into the equation?

Pritchard’s family dog, Pickles, liked to chase balls that went out of bounds. It scooped them up and then hid in the bushes. Therefore, the family called the game “Pickle’s Ball” – later shortened to Pickleball.

Rules

The Serve:

Players must keep one foot behind the back line when serving. The serve is made underhand. The paddle must pass below the waist. The serve is made diagonally cross court and must clear the non-volley zone. Only one serve attempt is allowed, except in the event of a let (the ball touches the net on the serve, and lands on the proper service court). Then, the serve may be taken over. At the start of each new game, the 1st serving team is allowed only one fault before giving up the ball to the opponents. Thereafter both members of each team will serve and fault before the ball is turned over to the opposing team. When the receiving team wins the serve, the player in the right hand court will always start play.

The Volley:

To volley a ball means to hit it in the air without first letting it bounce. All volleying must be done with the player’s feet behind the non-volley zone line.

Double Bounce Rule:

Each team must play their first shot off the bounce. That is, the first receiving team must let the served ball bounce, and the serving team must let the return of serve bounce before playing it. After the two bounces have occurred, the ball can be either volleyed or played off the bounce.

Faults:

  • Hitting the ball out of bounds
  • Not clearing the net
  • Stepping into the non-volley zone and volleying the ball

The Court:

The court dimensions are identical to a doubles badminton court. The court dimensions are 20′ x 44′ for both doubles and singles. The net is hung 36” on each end of the net and 34” in the middle. A non-volley zone extends 7′ on each side of the net. There remains 15′ on each side of the court. On each side, these 20′ x 15′ rectangles are further divided onto two equal rectangles measuring 10′ x 15′. When laying out the court, allow adequate space at each end and sides of the court boundary lines for player movement. (Three to five feet on each end and one to two feet on the sides).