Pickleball was invented in 1965 by three fathers from Bainbridge Island, Washington who needed something new to play with their kids in the summertime. Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum made the equipment with items they had lying around the house and combined rules from tennis, badminton, and table tennis to create a fun new sport. From there, it quickly grew in popularity across the United States and soon took off across the globe.
The game is approachable for all levels, from beginner to professional, and for all ages ranging from youth to senior leagues. In the US, the sport is governed by USA Pickleball, which sanctions tournaments across the nation. From 2020-2021, the sport saw 14.8% growth in players, reaching 4.8 million participants in 2021. Thanks to the fast-paced, social nature of the sport and the inexpensive setup, pickleball is continuing to take off, with more players joining and new pickleball facilities being built across the nation.
Pickleball is an indoor/outdoor court sport played as singles or doubles on badminton-sized courts. The court size is the same for both singles and doubles. Players use composite or wooden paddles to hit a plastic ball across a net. Points are scored by the serving team and games are often played until 11 points, win by 2. For more official rules, click here.
What Pickleball Needs from Venues
Pickleball can be played on indoor or outdoor sport courts. A pickleball court is badminton-sized at 20’ x 44’ for both singles and doubles. The net is hung at 36” at the ends and hangs at 34” in the center. A non-volley zone extends 7’ back from the net on each side. This space is called “the kitchen.” In leagues and tournaments, multiple games are played at once. In 2021, the Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships presented by Pickleball Central brought in over 2,000 registrants to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs, California.
Pickleball Venues on Playeasy
- Garber Courts Tennis & Pickleball – Managed by Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Pickleballerz – Managed by SportsNOVA
- Pavilion of Pickleball – Managed by Visit Knoxville
- Opelika Pickleball Facility – Managed by Auburn-Opelika Tourism
- PGA Village Verano Pickleball Center – Managed by Play Treasure Coast
- Yost Park Pickleball – Managed by Snohomish County Sport Commission
- Some say the name ‘pickleball‘ comes from one of the inventors of the sport’s cocker spaniel named Pickles.
- In 1965, three fathers from Bainbridge Island, Washington invented pickleball to play with their kids in the summertime. Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum made the equipment with items they had lying around the house and combined rules from tennis, badminton, and table tennis to create a fun new sport.
- More than 4.8 million players play pickleball in the US. The number of players has been growing by over 10% each year for the past decade.
- USA Pickleball is the pickleball governing body in the US and regulates professional play for the sport. In 2010, The International Federation of Pickleball was created to regulate the sport across the globe. Today, over 60 countries are members of the organization, which is working to get pickleball recognized as an Olympic sport.
To learn more, check out the Pickleball Venues on Playeasy above, or explore the Venues capable of hosting pickleball on the Venue Marketplace here. Be on the lookout for next week’s Sport of the Week feature on Thursday!