22 October 2020 (updated)

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 and learn about its fame! 

From soccer to tennis, most of us who like to get 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 2,000,000 participants in the United States 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.

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?

There are plenty of pickleball rules that 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 adapt the pickleball rules easily!

  • Serving – All serves must be made 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 the ball should not be bounced.
  • Volleys – In pickleball, a volley is done 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.
  • 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. It can also occur when it’s hit out of bounds or does not clear the net.
  • Scoring – 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.

What Is the Equipment for Pickleball?

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

Fortunately, the appropriate apparel for this game is pretty standard. All that’s required is athletic shorts or pants and a top with wicking properties. As running shoes aren’t a necessity, 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.

Why is Pickleball the Fastest Growing Sport in the US?

Easy-to-learn rules and equipment that you can effort even on a budget might be some of the reasons more and more people join the game. 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 years, and there’s no reason you can’t make it a part of your summer sports repertoire! Fortunately, it’s easy to learn and you don’t need to invest too much in pickleball accessories. Have you ever played this game? Share your stories with us in our comments! For a backyard sport on a warm summer’s day, nothing beats a little ball.