What Is Pickleball and Why Is It the Fastest Growing Sport in the US?

It may have started as a simple homebound activity, but pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the USA. Read here about the rules so you can try out this sport in your own backyard.

From soccer to tennis, most of us who like to play outside for recreation have a favorite backyard sport. But, if you’re looking for something new to play this spring and summer, look no further than the popular game of pickleball! With more than 2,815,000 participants in the United States, including close to a million last year, and the establishment of the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), it’s no surprise it’s on the rise! Share your own pickleball tips on your favorite family app.

playing pickleball

What Is Pickleball?

This game dates back to 1965 where Joel Pritchard, William Bell, and Barney McCallum invented it in Bainbridge Island, Washington. It was named after Pritchard’s dog Pickles who liked to chase balls. Looking for something that would entertain the whole family on summer days, they developed the game of pickleball.

Using tennis paddles and a whiffle ball, they lowered their badminton net to come up with this game. Soon, it became popular with family and friends and the pickleball paddle was born. Nowadays, the game takes place on a badminton or tennis court where the ball is served diagonally. It can be played in singles or doubles, with the game going up to 11 points.

What Are the Rules for Pickleball?

Many pickleball rules have been adopted to make it a popular and fun to play sport. If you’re already familiar with similar games like tennis or ping pong, you will quickly pick up on the pickleball rules!

  • Serving – Serve diagonally starting from the right side of the court, alternating to the opposite side with each consecutive serve. The serve must clear the net and land in the diagonal court. Serves should be done underhand with the paddle and don’t bounce the ball in your own court first.
  • Volleys – In pickleball, a volley happens when the ball is hit after it has been allowed to bounce once. The player’s feet must stay behind the non-volley zone, which is the seven feet directly behind the net. It is a fault if the player steps over the line when hitting the ball. It’s also a fault if the player doesn’t let the ball bounce first after the serve.
  • Faults – A fault occurs in the game of pickleball in a variety of circumstances. It also often happens when the ball touches any part of the non-volley zone on the court. It can also occur when it’s hit out of bounds or it doesn’t clear the net.
  • Scoring – Like volleyball, teams can only score a point when they are serving. They will earn points until there is a fault at which point serving will be passed on to the opponent. The game goes up to 11 points but a team must win by two points. Be sure to share your own winning tips on your favorite family app.

pickleball paddles

What Equipment Do You Need for Pickleball?

The most important pickleball equipment is the right paddle. Often made of aluminum and graphite, this paddle is smaller than a tennis racket and bigger than a ping pong paddle. After you choose a good paddle, you’ll also need a pickleball and a net.

You don’t need to wear all-white or a fancy uniform to participate in the sport.  The appropriate apparel for this game is pretty standard. You just need athletic shorts, a skirt, or pants, and an athletic top. If you have tennis shoes, that’s fantastic, but a comfortable pair of sneakers will provide the appropriate support. If you happen to be playing in the sun, hats and visors can also come in handy. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Why Is Pickleball the Fastest Growing Sport in the US?

It’s a fun sport that’s relatively easy to play and doesn’t cost a ton of money. Another bonus? It’s a great sport for social distancing since it’s usually a non-contact outdoor sport, though there are indoor pickleball courts, too.

According to the USAPA, pickleball has been rising in popularity over the last years, making it “one of the fastest-growing sports in America.” More and more play courts open all over the country, and pickleball changes its image from a sport for seniors to a trend amongst adolescents and teens!

Pickleball has become a popular sport in the last few years, and there’s no reason you can’t make it a part of your summer sports repertoire! It’s easy to learn, and you don’t need to invest too much in pickleball accessories.

Have you ever played it? Why not get your friends and family in on the action? It’s the perfect sport for the young, old, and young-at-heart.

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