Pickleball. More than a Sport.

The History of Pickleball

by Stacie Townsend

History of Pickleball | Pickler Pickleball

Pickleball was created by Joel Pritchard (former United States congressman), Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum in the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington. The three founding fathers of pickleball created the game out of a necessity to entertain their bored children. They improvised with the recreational gear they had at hand, which included a badminton net, table tennis paddles, and a wiffle ball. Pritchard, Bell, and McCallum tweaked the rules to eventually come up with the first rules of the sport of pickleball. Needless to say, the newly created game was a hit with the children and quickly attracted the attention of the adults, too.

Other Key Dates in the History of Pickleball:

  • 1965 - The sport of pickleball was born on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
  • 1967 - The first pickleball court was constructed.
  • 1972 - Pickle-Ball Inc., a corporation, was created to protect the sport of pickleball.
  • 1975 - The National Observer published an article about pickleball, which helped garner national attention for the sport.
  • 1976 - Tennis Magazine published an article about pickleball, calling the sport "America's newest racquet sport."
  • 1976 - The first pickleball tournament was held in Tukwila, Washington.
  • 1984 - The USAPA was created to grow the sport of pickleball nationwide. The first rulebook was also created.
  • 1984 - Arlen Paranto created the first composite pickleball paddle.
  • 1990 - Pickleball reached all 50 states in the United States.
  • 1997 - Joel Pritchard, one of the founding fathers of pickleball, passed away at the age of 72.
  • 2005 - The USAPA was re-born as a not-for-profit corporation. The mission remained the same, which was and is to grow the sport of pickleball in the United States.
  • 2006 - Bill Bell, one of the founding fathers of pickleball, passed away at the age of 83.
  • 2009 - Almost 400 pickleball players from the United States (26 states) and Canada participated in the first USAPA National Tournament in Buckeye, Arizona.
  • 2010 - The International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) was created.
  • 2019 - Barney McCallum, one of the founding fathers of pickleball, passed away at the age of 93.

Today, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, there are more than 3.3 million pickleball players in the United States. There are also almost 8,000 places to play, with more than 30,000 pickleball courts, across the globe. The growth of pickleball since 1965 is staggering, and this is only the beginning. The sport of pickleball continues to grow and capture the hearts of players worldwide.




Stacie Townsend
Stacie Townsend

Author



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Pickleball Blog

Team Waters Takes Pickleball on Vacation in Costa Rica | Pickler Pickleball
Team Waters Takes Pickleball on Vacation in Costa Rica

by Leigh Waters

Since returning to professional pickleball this year, after taking a long COVID hiatus, Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters have been traveling the country for pickleball tournaments. But, one thing that that they have not done in a really long time is take a family vacation... until now. Learn about Team Waters' trip to Costa Rica from Leigh herself, which included as much, or more, pickleball than at home in Florida, monkey spectators, family bonding, surfing, and a lot of new friends made on the Costa Rican pickleball courts, which reminded them how much fun the great sport of pickleball really is. 

Read More

Lessons from the Pickleball Court: Encourage the Kids to Play | Pickler Pickleball
Lessons from the Pickleball Court: Encourage the Kids to Play

by Stacie Townsend

Pickleball is great for kids. Kids are great for pickleball. Learn why pickleball is not just your grandparents' game anymore and why kids should be on the court playing pickleball!

Read More

Why the Middle May Be the Best Pickleball Strategy | Pickler Pickleball
Why the Middle May Be the Best Pickleball Strategy

by Stacie Townsend 1 Comment

Down the middle solves the riddle.” We have all heard this idiom before on the pickleball court. There is a strategy in pickleball to hit shots “down the middle” in doubles pickleball. What is this middle strategy? Why is the middle strategy effective in doubles pickleball? How can you execute the middle strategy? Learn the answers to these questions and whether the middle is the best pickleball strategy.

Read More