Pickleball is a sport that is commonly referred to as a mix of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. Pickleball is a racquet/paddle sport that is played with a paddle and a whiffle ball (i.e. a plastic ball with holes) on either an indoor or outdoor court that is the same size as a badminton court and a modified tennis net (i.e. a pickleball net is two inches lower than a tennis net). Pickleball is a sport for all ages and skill levels, that can be played as either doubles or singles, is easy to learn, and comes with an amazing and welcoming culture and community of people.
Other than a few friends, what do you need to play pickleball? There are 5 things that you will need before you join the fun:
The Official Rulebook for pickleball sets forth the rules for pickleball. The Official Rulebook for pickleball has been published by the USA Pickleball Association (USA Pickleball) since 1984, and has been adapted by the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) since 2010. The Official Rulebook is reviewed and, to the extent necessary, revised and updated every year by a joint effort between USA Pickleball and the IFP, as pickleball rules have continued to evolve as the sport itself evolves. The Official Rulebook applies to both recreational pickleball play and tournament pickleball play.
There are lots of situations and circumstances that could play out on the pickleball court, and the Official Rulebook for pickleball covers most, if not all, of these situations and circumstances. However, to get started playing pickleball, or when teaching others to play pickleball for the first time, there are a few essential rules to cover that make pickleball truly unique:
We know pickleball rules can be tricky at times. Don’t worry. Pickler will explain the ins and outs of all of the pickleball rules in a series of pickleball rules blogs to make sure that you make the right call on the pickleball court.
Short answer for where you can play pickleball: Anywhere that is at least 20 feet wide by 44 feet long!
There are close to 8,000 places to play pickleball, with more than 30,000 pickleball courts, across the globe. Common places to play pickleball include senior-living communities, YMCAs, and local parks, schools, and recreation centers. To find a place to play pickleball near you, check out USA Pickleball's Places 2 Play website at https://www.places2play.org.
With that said, you can play pickleball on just about any hard surface that is at least 20 feet wide by 44 feet long. For instance, you can create your own pickleball court by marking out pickleball court lines (by using line kits or even chalk) and setting up a temporary net on any concrete area, wood or gym floor, or other hard surface, including a tennis or basketball court. You can also play pickleball on grass or clay tennis courts, as pickleball players are slowly testing the ability of pickleball to be played on these alternative surfaces.
The fact that you have the ability to play pickleball just about anywhere is one factor that makes the sport of pickleball so great. Pickleball is accessible and relatively inexpensive to play.
There are plenty of reasons why you should pick up a pickleball paddle and start playing pickleball. Here are just 7 reasons why you should join the movement and start playing pickleball today:
Pickleball is much more than just a sport; it is a community. Pickleball and pickleball players are social (both on and off the pickleball court) and inclusive of players from all backgrounds, ages, and skill levels.
The rules of pickleball are simple and easy to learn, no matter what your skill level or age. Pickleball is also a sport that you can easily improve at and excel at! See below for some tips and tricks to get you started!
Pickleball will improve your physical fitness (you can burn 600+ calories per hour playing pickleball), and will help with weight loss and weight management. Pickleball also leads to stronger cardiovascular and metabolic health, as well as stronger bones and muscles.
Pickleball will also help keep you mentally alert, as the sport involves strategy and social interaction. Pickleball will also give you a stronger, more positive mental state (those endorphins make you happy!).
Pickleball is a sport that you can play both outdoors and indoors, which allows you to play all-year round, no matter the weather!
Pickleball is relatively inexpensive to play. All you need is a pickleball, a paddle, and a court (which could be in a driveway, a street, or a local public park).
Most importantly, pickleball is FUN! Pickleball will also lead to lots of laughter, and will give you friends for a lifetime and that extend well-beyond the pickleball court.
To get better at pickleball, try the following:
Learn the best pickleball tips and strategies proven to help improve your pickleball game by reading and subscribing to Pickler's pickleball blog. Pickler continuously updates blogs to bring you proven pickleball tips and strategies to continuously improve your pickleball game. These pickleball blogs include:
It is important to drill, rather than go straight into a pickleball game. This is because, in a game (whether in a tournament or not), you are in a stressful, high-speed situation. Things tend to break down in stressful, high-speed situations, such as your pickleball mechanics. Practice your pickleball mechanics in a non-stressful environment. In other words, DRILL, DRILL, DRILL! It is so important to drill to commit the proper pickleball mechanics to muscle memory and to make your proper pickleball mechanics part of your habits. Generally, you must do any skill, such as hit a particular pickleball shot, properly at least 10,000 times to master it. This is worth reiterating—you must hit 10,000 of each of your dinks, drops, drives, volleys, serves, returns, lobs, overheads, etc.—the PROPER way—to master each shot and each skill. This means that you may need to hit a particular shot more than 10,000 times—say 20,000 times—to hit 10,000 proper strokes. So, emphasize quality on every shot!
For more information on pickleball drills, including a sample pickleball drill routine, check out Pickler's blog on Pickleball Drills to Improve Your Pickleball Game!
While it is important to practice each skill properly, you need to understand what the proper way is. One way to understand how to master each skill or shot on the pickleball courts is to find a pickleball coach, which you have access to at Pickler 24/7/365 with Pickler's online video lesson collection called My Pro Pickleball Coach. My Pro Pickleball Coach is a fraction of the price of one clinic or lesson, and features over 140 video lessons (over 7 hours of instruction!), as well as a corresponding e-book, that breaks down every aspect of the sport of pickleball, including pickleball mechanics, fundamentals, strategy, advanced concepts, and drills.
By playing with and against pickleball players that are as strong or stronger players than you, you will be required to step up your level of play. You will also have the opportunity to watch and learn their techniques and strategies in order to adapt or emulate in your own game.
Another way to challenge your pickleball skills is to play in a pickleball tournament, league, or round robin, where the competitive element is present. Read below to learn more about pickleball tournaments!
The better fitness you have, the more shots you will be able to track down, the easier it will be to move on the pickleball court, and the faster your reactions will be to the pickleball. You may also find yourself hitting the pickleball harder and exerting less energy to play, which means that you can play even longer! So, work on your overall fitness by cross training, lifting weights, doing pilates or yoga, or even participating in other sports.
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:
Today, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, there are more than 4.2 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.
Pickleball may be sport with a funny name. But, where did the name "pickleball" come from?
There are a couple of theories on how the sport of pickleball became to be named pickleball. The first is that one of the founding father's wives, Joan Pritchard (wife of Joel Pritchard), named the game "pickleball" because the game reminded her of a pickle boat, which is a term in crew to refer to the boat that has mismatched, leftover oarsmen from other boats.
With that said, the second and more popular theory professed by Barney McCallum and other firsthand eye witnesses from the early days, is that the sport of pickleball was named after the Pritchard family's cock-a-poo named "Pickles."
In the early days, a passionate debate broke out about amongst the guests at a cocktail party hosted by the Pritchard family about what to call the newly created paddle game. At the time of the debate, Pickles the dog ran across the room. As Pickles flashed across the room, someone suggested that the new, fun paddle game be called "pickleball" because Pickles would run around and chase the ball on, off, and around the court. It was "Pickle's ball." Hence, pickleball!
Whatever theory you prefer to tell, and whatever the paddle game invented by Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum may be called, one thing is certain... we in the pickleball community are all extremely grateful for pickleball!
A pickleball tournament is a competitive event where you can showcase your pickleball skills and compete with others. Pickleball tournaments are typically organized by (a) your age and (b) your rating (including your UTPR), skill level, and/or ranking. Pickleball tournaments are also typically organized by type of event, which include mixed doubles, gender doubles (i.e. men's doubles and women's doubles), and gender singles (i.e. men's singles and women's singles).
Pickleball tournament players probably make up less than three percent of the overall pickleball population. For these pickleball tournament players, more and more pickleball tournaments are being played across the country, and even the world, each and every week. If you are one of these pickleball players that loves to put your court skills to the test and play in a pickleball tournament, or are trying to decide which pickleball tournament should be your first pickleball tournament, what do you look for?
There are many things pickleball players could look for in a pickleball tournament. One thing that may be important to pickleball players is the size of the pickleball tournament (which could also tend to correlate with quality). Some of the largest pickleball tournaments across the world include, among others:
There are also smaller local pickleball tournaments across the country and across the world.
For a calendar of the larger pickleball tournaments, check out Pickler's 2021 Pickleball Tournament Calendar. For a calendar of other smaller local pickleball tournaments, see below.
PickleballTournaments.com handles all of the sign-up for the large pickleball tournaments. As a result, if you are interested in playing in one of these mentioned large pickleball tournaments, you will need to register using PickleballTournaments.com. This is the same platform that many other local pickleball tournaments use. However, there are also a handful of other platforms that feature pickleball tournaments, such as PickleballBrackets.com and Pickleball.Global.
Don't forget to also reach out to your local pickleball club to learn about other events, which could include pickleball tournaments, leagues, round robins, and other social events.
Pickleball tournaments can be a fun way to test your skills on the court. However, playing competitive pickleball in a pickleball tournament is very different than playing recreational pickleball, as there can be added pressure, lots of starts and stops throughout the day, and different pickleball rules to be concerned with. As a result, it is important to prepare yourself both physically and mentally if you decide to play in any of these pickleball tournaments. Pickler is here to help! Check out Pickler's blogs, social media, e-books, and online video lessons to elevate your pickleball skills and strategy on the pickleball court!
The sport of pickleball is considered friendlier on the body than other sports, such as any contact sport, like football or basketball, or even tennis. However, like any other sport, there is a risk of injury that comes along with playing the game. To help reduce the risk of injury on the pickleball court and play pickleball safely, consider the following pickleball safety tips:
Pickleball is a "social" sport. This generally means that pickleball is as much about interacting and socializing with people (in other words, having fun) as it is about physical activity and competition. This "social" culture around pickleball is one defining characteristic of the sport itself. In connection with that unique culture, it is important to understand some "pickleball etiquette" tips before hitting the pickleball court. These include:
Hopefully, by this point in the Pickleball Guide, you are ready to exclaim that "I play pickleball!"
With that in mind, in the past, the sport of pickleball developed a reputation for being a senior game, as the game was predominantly played by people over the age of 55. While a huge percentage of the pickleball population is over the age of 55, recent trends show that the sport of pickleball is catching fire with younger generations.
According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) 2019 Pickleball Participant Report, about 4.2 million people play pickleball in the United States. Of this 4.2 million people, there are "casual" pickleball players and "core" pickleball players. Casual pickleball players play pickleball 1 to 7 times per year, while core pickleball players play pickleball 8 or more times per year. From 2015 to 2018, the percentage of casual pickleball players and core pickleball players that were under the age of 55 grew (the percentage of casual pickleball players that were under the age of 55 grew from 25% to 36%, and the percentage of core pickleball players that were under the age of 55 grew from 78% to 84%). In other words, the average age of a casual pickleball player and core pickleball player is declining, and more and more younger players are entering the pickleball community.
Even though the sport of pickleball has a reputation as a senior sport and is still largely played by players over the age of 55, the sport of pickleball is re-characterizing itself as a sport for all ages. From juniors to seniors, the sport of pickleball is for you!
Pickler is about celebrating pickleball as more than just a sport with a funny name. We celebrate the friendships, community, and FUN of pickleball. For both pickleball enthusiasts and pickleball newbies alike, Pickler provides inspiration and information to help you play your best pickleball and join the pickleball movement.
Our mission at Pickler is to promote the sport of pickleball and inspire others to play pickleball. Pickler promotes the unique and welcoming community of pickleball, as well as pickleball's great exercise, family-friendly, high-quality play, meaningful relationships, health and wellness benefits, and fun culture. Pickler also strives to help pickleball players improve their game and play their best pickleball, whether it is (1) through Pickler’s FREE email newsletter and podcast (coming late 2021); (2) through Pickler's pickleball videos and pickleball e-books that focus on every aspect of the sport of pickleball; or (3) by helping pickleball players show off their love of pickleball with some Pickler gear.
Also, do not forget to check out:
If you are looking for more information on the sport of pickleball, check out Pickler's other pickleball resources below:
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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.