Pickleball is one of North America’s fastest-growing sports, with pickleball courts popping up all over the US and Canada. Even the media have caught on to its soaring popularity.
Pickleball has over 3 million people playing the sport! Whether you’re a die-hard fan or are just curious, once you hear the name, it is hard to forget.
But, why is it called Pickleball? When was it invented? We have all the most interesting pickleball facts, every fan should know. Warning…. some of these will shock you!
The best pickleball facts
3 Dads invented pickleball
Pickleball was born in 1965. It was the creation of three fathers in Bainbridge Island, Washington. They needed a new innovative way to keep their kids entertained.
Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum used sporting equipment and materials they found lying around the house and a combination of rules from table tennis, tennis and badminton.
This became the much-loved sport of pickleball.
Pickleball’s name has nothing to do with pickles
There are two stories about how pickleball gained its memorable name. Joel Pritchard’s wife Joan insists she called it pickleball after the “pickle boat” crew, where oarsmen were chosen from leftovers of other boats. Just like, pickleball took leftovers from other sports.
The second story, (and our favorite) is that pickleball was named after the Pritchard’s cocker spaniel: Pickle. Pickle enjoyed chasing the ball!
Every US state and all Canadian provinces have pickleball courts
Local community centers, parks, schools, YMCAs and retirement communities are the most likely places to find pickleball venues.
The USAPA has compiled a list of places to play, find a pickleball court near you.
Pickleball is played worldwide
The IFP (The International Federation of Pickleball) is a nonprofit organization aiming to spread knowledge of the sport around the world.
They want pickleball fever to spread to all nations and their dream is that one day we will see pickleball at the Olympics! We are crossing our fingers for 2028.
Current members include USA, Canada, France, England, Scotland, Malaysia, India, Poland, Denmark and more. You can see the full list of countries here. Is your pickleball association missing? Apply to join the IFP and help grow pickleball in your home country.
You can play pickleball indoors or outdoors
Pickleball can be played inside or outside. If you have a court, a ball, and paddle you are all set. There are pros and cons to each style of play. The use of indoor courts means you can keep playing whatever the weather.
For those of us living with less than ideal temperatures, anything that allows us to keep playing all year round is a bonus!
Pickleball can be adapted for wheelchair users
One of the truly amazing things about pickleball is how much fun it is, you won’t even know you are exercising! As a truly inclusive sport, wheelchair users do not have to miss out.
The sport can be adapted, so those with disabilities can play too. Find out the USAPA rules for wheelchair pickleball.
Pickleball is a sport for ALL ages
Can pickleball bridge the gap between generations? Crazier things have happened! Pickleball has proved popular with seniors. It is a way to keep fit, while still going easy on joint, hip and shoulder injuries.
68% of players are over 60 but the sport is catching on with younger people. One of the top female pros in the world is only 12 years old!
Pickleball is easy to learn
Pickleball is an easy game for beginners to pick up. The rules are simple, the equipment is inexpensive and the community is welcoming.
Quick pickleball facts
- Pickleball addicts are called “Picklers“.
- Florida plays the most pickleball in the world by far.
- Pickleball has no dress code (within reason).
- Pickleball players have some crazy solutions to “pickleball leg cramp”. From eating mustard straight from the jar, to drinking only carbonated water before a game.
- Playing pickleball for 30 minutes will cause the average person to burn over 250 calories. That is like two glasses of wine!
- A 90 minute game of pickleball can rack up between 7000 and 10,000 steps!
- A pickleball paddle is 3 times the size of a ping pong paddle.
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