What is Pickleball?
Is a paddleball sport (similar to a racquet sport) that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, with 26-40 round holes, 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 Joel Pritchard, who later served in Congress and as lieutenant governor. 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 perforated plastic ball, lowered the badminton net, and fabricated paddles of plywood from a nearby shed.
McCallum made the first paddles that were specifically for paddleball on his basement bandsaw. He tried several alternative paddles, but one he called "M2” became the paddle of choice for most players. In 1972, McCallum incorporated Pickle-Ball, Inc. and manufactured wooden paddles to help grow the sport. His son David McCallum now runs the business, which is headquartered in Kent, Washington.
Some sources claim that the name "Pickleball" was derived from that of the Pritchard's family dog, Pickles, or from the term "pickle boat". According to Joan Pritchard, Joel Pritchard's wife, "The name of the game became Pickle Ball, 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 for the game, but stories about the name’s origin were funnier thinking the game was named for the dog."