31 Little-Known Facts About Pickleball

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of ping pong and tennis on a badminton court.

Pickleball has been around for a few years, it's played by people of all ages and skill levels, and it's fun, fast-paced and healthy. But did you know it is the fastest-growing sport in America?

But how did it come to be called pickleball? And is it more related to tennis, badminton, or ping-pong?

Today, we're exploring why it's becoming so popular and uncovering all kinds of interesting facts.


1. Pickleball originated in Bainbridge Island, Washington, in 1965.
It was invented by Joel Pritchard, a US politician, along with his friends Barney McCallum and Bill Bell.
Three years after inventing Pickleball, Pritchard and McCallum's son, David, founded Pickle Ball Inc., selling wood paddles and other pickleball equipment.

2. Pickleball is considered a combination of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong, as its rules, equipment, and dimensions (whether the court, net, or ball) all take inspiration from these sports!

3. Pritchard's ex-wife, Joan, claimed that pickleball was named after a "pickle boat" since it combined different sports, the same way that a pickle boat consists of different rowers from other boats.
Others claimed that pickleball was named after Pritchard's dog, Pickles. However, the Pritchard family debunked this.

4. Another theory regarding how pickleball got its name comes from Bill Bell, stating that the sport referred to the idiom "in a pickle," as he enjoyed putting his opponents in a difficult situation.

5. The regulation dimensions of pickleball courts are 44 feet (13.4 meters) long and 20 feet (6.1 m) wide.

6. Pickleball's net height varies depending on where you measure it; at the sideline, it's 36 inches (91 centimeters) high, while at the center, it's just 34 inches (86 cm).

7. The largest pickleball paddle can be found in Smash Park in West Des Moines, Iowa.
It's called the "Big Blue," and it stands 13.6 feet (4.6 m) tall and 6.9 feet (2.1 m) wide!

8. In pickleball, teams win by reaching 11 points with a two-point lead. Points can only be scored by the serving team. The receiving team only gets a chance to serve if the serving player(s) commit a violation.

9. The "kitchen" in pickleball is an area where players aren't allowed to volley or hit the ball while it's in the air; hence, it's also called the non-volley zone.

10. There used to be three legal ways to serve in pickleball: volley, drop, and spin serve. The third serve, involving adding spin to the ball just before serving, was banned as of 2023.

11. A "drop shot" serve involves serving the ball so low that it drops into the "kitchen." It's considered the most difficult shot in pickleball, as it requires a great deal of precision and control to pull off!

12. When recorded from just 100 feet (30 meters) away, the sound of a pickleball hit by a paddle can reach 70 decibels. The noise of playing tennis, for example, is usually around 40 decibels.

13. Pickleball paddles are a larger version of ping-pong paddles.
Pickleball paddles can be made from different materials, and each type serves a different purpose. Carbon fiber paddles are more precise, while wooden paddles give your shots more force.

14. Pickleballs for indoor play are lighter and have larger holes than outdoor balls. This is because they don't have to withstand the elements, like wind.

15. In Hawaii, pickleball is known as pukaball because the word puka means "hole" in Hawaiian, and pickleballs are full of holes.

16. Pickleball isn't just a game for the masses; many celebrities, including Leonardo di Caprio, Bill Gates, and Will Smith, enjoy the sport.

17. The first official pickleball rulebook was published in 1984.
This is also the year the United States Amateur Pickleball Association was formed, and when the first National Doubles Championships occurred in Tacoma, Washington.

18. The 2001 Arizona Senior Olympics included pickleball as a demonstration sport, which is a sport played in a sports event not as part of the main competition but rather to promote it.

19. The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) was founded in 2005 and is the official governing body for pickleball in the United States. The USAPA sanctions tournaments and maintains the official rules for pickleball.

20. The longest pickleball match on record lasted 13 hours and 15 minutes and was played at the 2013 USAPA National Championships in Naples, Florida.

21. The first world pickleball championships were held in 2016 in Canada.

22. Since 2018, USA Pickleball has celebrated April as National Pickleball Month.
Different activities are held each week with the aim to introduce more people to the sport.

23. In 2019, Ben Johns became the first professional male pickleball player to win a triple crown, which is a gold medal in each event (singles, doubles, and mixed doubles).

24. In 2021 there were approximately 4.8 million people in the US who played pickleball casually.
By the end of 2023, this number had grown to a mind-blowing 13.6 million!
As of early 2024, there were at least 13,969 places across the US where you can play pickleball.

25. The record for the longest pickleball rally belongs to Angelo and Ettore Rossetti, who made 16,046 consecutive exchanges of shots on October 10, 2021!

26. In 2021, a turf war broke out between tennis and pickleball players in Santa Rosa's Finley Community Park in California after the courts where pickleball players played were vandalized with motor oil!

27. Numerous renowned athletes have purchased a team in Major League Pickleball, which was established in 2021. Some examples include Lebron James, Tom Brady, and Naomi Osaka.

28. In 2022, pickleball was banned in Seravalli Playground since there were too many adult pickleball players to the point that there was no more room for the kids to play in the park in New York.

29. On March 28, 2022, pickleball became the US state of Washington's official sport.

30. On November 5, 2023, USA's Professional Pickleball Association broke the Guinness World Record for the most participants in a pickleball exhibition match with a stunning 264 participants!

31. A 2023 study by the Association of Pickleball Professionals showed that the average age of pickleball players who play once a month is around 35, with most players residing in the US, particularly in New York City and Los Angeles.

Wikipedia - Pickleball / Sportico / Pickle Heads / Onix Pickleball / Des Moines register / Prime Time Pickleball / The Pickler - Noise issue / Paddletek - Paddle materials / Net World Sports / USA Pickleball - Washington state sport / South China Morning Post / Guinness World Records - Record-breaking pickleball exhibition / The Press Democrat / Paddletek - Most difficult shot / Yahoo / USA Pickleball - National pickleball month / The Pickler - Pickleball terms / Wikipedia - Ben Johns / Guinness World Records - Longest pickleball rally / The Fact Site