The History of Pickleball
Pickleball is a paddle sport (similar to a racquet sport) that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a Wiffle Ball, over a net. The sport shares features of other racquet sports, the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net and rules somewhat similar to tennis, with several modifications. Pickleball was invented in the mid 1960s as a children's backyard game.
The game started during the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, at the home of former State Representative Joel Pritchard who, in 1972, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and eventually went on to become Lieutenant Governor of Washington. He and two of his friends, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum, returned from golf and found their families bored one Saturday afternoon. They attempted to set up badminton, but no one could find the shuttlecock. They improvised with a Wiffle ball, lowered the badminton net, and fabricated paddles of plywood from a nearby shed.
Some sources claim that the name "Pickleball" was derived from that of the Pritchard's family dog, Pickles, or from the term "pickle boat", referring to the last boat to return with its catch. But according to Joan Pritchard, Joel Pritchard's wife, the name came "after I said it reminded me of the Pickle Boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats. Somehow the idea the name came from our dog Pickles was attached to the naming of the game, but Pickles wasn't on the scene for two more years. The dog was named from the game.