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How Did Pickleball Get Its Name? Amazing Facts

How Did Pickleball Get Its Name? Amazing Facts

The first modern-day sport is said to be boxing, which started in the year 1867. Afterward, all other sports we observe nowadays were invented and evolved, including cricket, football, baseball, and several other sports. How did pickleball get its name?

The name of pickleball is originated from either of the 2 established stories. One story tells that the game is called pickleball since the game reminded the wife of Joel Pritchard of the ‘pickle’ boat. Another story tells that the name was originated from their dog called ‘pickles’.

How did This Game Get its Name as Pickleball?

Idea through Whiffle Ball:

To know why this sport is called pickleball, it is essential to glance over its history, invention, and how it is played to date. If we go back in the pages of history, we needed to stop in 1965. It was the year when pickleball was played for the very first time, or we might say, was invented in Washington. Its invention is an exciting story.

This game was developed in a house, where families of JOEL PRITCHARD and BILL BELL were spending their time together on vacation. A time came during that vacation when the families found out they had nothing to do to spend their time and were bored.

They decided to devise a way to kill their boredom. The place where they lived had a tennis court in the backyard, but there were not enough rackets for the members to play, so they started to think of another way. The idea that came around their minds was that they used ping pong paddles and Wiffle balls to start their game.

It was the first shape of the modern-day game, which we call ‘pickleball’. Now talking about the reason, why is it named as pickleball only, and not something else. For the answer to that question, we come across two different stories.

The Story of the Pickle Boat:

How Did Pickleball Get Its Name
One story tells us that the wife of Joel Pritchard starts calling this game pickleball. She used to say this game usually reminded her of the pickle boat in the crew. It was the place where the oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of the other boats. 

This story on the pickleball name origin is an interesting one. According to Joel’s wife, Joan, who had been a competitive rower, came up with the name ‘Pickleball’ because it reminded her of the boat called ‘Pickle’. She herself quoted as:

“I rowed crew in college and had never heard the term so seemed a little
strange, but after a little research found that actually people do refer to
weaker, mismatched crew boat teams as a “pickle boat”.”

West Virginia News and Sentinel

The Story of Naming after Dog:

How Did Pickleball Get Its Name
The second story tells us they named this game pickleball after the name of their dog, Pickles. They claimed their dog wasn't as sour as the actual pickles are and were a sweet little creature who used to run after the ball, wagging his tail in the court. It made them call the game pickleball.

The Prichards’ daughter and a neighbor Jim Brown adopted an adorable Cockapoo puppy from the woman who was giving it away for free. They named it Pickles.

One day, while they were playing the racquet game, Pickles picked up the plastic Wiffle ball with his mouth and ran across the court With It.

The McCallum family, as well as the Browns, were some of the first pickleball players. They say they remember that night when they named this new sport, sitting in Prichard’s cabin and cheering with excitement at its name: Pickles!

However, there has been a controversy as Joan Prichard, again in the News and Sentinel, was quoted saying :

“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.”

What is Pickleball?

How Did Pickleball Get Its Name

Pickleball is a sport, usually played between two or four players in the form of pairs. It is a game similar to tennis, table tennis, and badminton.

The players use solid paddles instead of rackets to hit a ball with some 26-40 round holes and make it go over a net placed in the court. This sport is being played worldwide for a very long period. However, it has never been introduced in the Olympics to date.

1965Pickleball is invented
1967First known pickleball court was specifically built for playing pickleball
1976First known pickleball tournament was held in Washington
1984The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) was founded
2008USAPA publishes Official Tournament Rulebook
2009First USAPA National Tournament for players of all ages which was held in Arizona
2015Pickleball was recognized by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association as the fastest growing sport in the USA

Pickleball Today:

If we look at Pickleball today, it isn’t similar to what it used to be when it was invented. It has been seen that the acceptance of this sport has increased all over the United States.

An association has been formed, the USA pickleball association, which holds over more than 4000 locations where people can freely come and engage themselves in this game.

If we look at this game today, we know that innovations didn’t only in the racket or paddle design. There have been several innovations in the net placed in the court.

The net is now made light and durable, with only advanced material specially designed for this game. Other than this, it is said that the groundbreaking Dura Fast 40 ball has brought the game to altogether new levels. 

What Is Needed To Play Pickleball?

Unlike other expensive sports, Pickleball is a unique, cheap, and affordable game. It is only essential that a person finds interest in playing the game. Once the claim is developed, they will never find it a boring sport. It is easy to play Pickleball, as it does not require any special or expensive gear and Equipment.

We will need a paddle, apparel, a ball, a net, and a court to play on to begin playing. That’s all we need to start with. These Equipment are described in detail below:

PaddleThe paddle of Pickleball has to be bigger than that of a table tennis racket but has to be relatively smaller than that of a badminton racket. These paddles can be made from any material: wood, aluminium, metal, or other composite matters.

For beginners, the paddle recommended is made of wood, which is inexpensive but might be a little challenging to control.

Ball If we talk about the ball used to play Pickleball, the ball was initially used as a spare Wiffle ball. As time went by and the sport evolved into the modern image, a similar ball was used, with holes.

It is essential that the ball a person chooses must be lightweight and should be the appropriate one.

ApparelUnlike tennis and other sports, no basic apparel is needed to play this game. Just comfortable athletic shoes and clothes are required, nothing else.

Terms associated with Pickleball:


It is also called a non-volley zone. The kitchen is an area that is between the net and non-volley line on both sides.


Before the ball bounces, it is called volleying if it is hit.


A fault is a rule associated with Pickleball and occurs when the ball:

  • It does not clear the net
  • Land outs of the bounds
  • It does not clear the non-volley zone and boundary lines during the serve
  • The ball is volleyed from the non-volley zone
  • The ball is volleyed before it bounces once on each side


Side out is the rule in which service is given to the opposing team.


A shot in which the ball is landed at your feet with the intention to your opponent or is landed in their non-volley zone. 

Pickleball Basic Rules:

Pickleball can be played as a single-player or as a double play. The rules and regulations are the same for both. 

  • The ball must be served diagonally to the opponent’s service court. It should be done without bouncing the ball off the court from behind the baseline.
  • The service needs to be clear the net and should not land in the kitchen.
  • When the opponent’s faults, the points are scored, failing to return, hitting the ball out of bounds is seen.
  • Only a serving of tea can make a score in a pickleball game.
  • The server continues to serve by alternating service courts each time until the serving side faults.
  • This sport must be won by two and is played till at least 11 points.
  • The ball is bounced at least once on each side after the ball is served before volleying the ball, which is called a double bounce rule. 
  • Players cannot volley the ball while standing within the non-volley zone or on the non-volley line.

Pickleball-A Game Full of Joy:

Pickleball is a rapidly growing game worldwide, which has developed a wide range of acceptance. The reason is, this game is relatively easy to play, easy for the body to understand, and more accessible for the mind to adopt, unlike other games such as cricket, tennis, badminton, and several others.

Those games might take a little time for a person to assume his mind according to the rules and regulations of that game. But when it comes to Pickleball, this was a game designed with family enjoyment in mind. It does not take much time to understand the rules and train the body and mind accordingly. 

Other than this, Pickleball is an inexpensive game, which requires fundamental Equipment to start with. It also does not require a vast and dedicated court to play in, so even if someone does not have an honourable court in their house, they still can play Pickleball. 

Pros of Pickleball Sport:

Easy to learnThe dimensions of the court and the equipment allow basic control of the game from the very beginning for the majority of the players, reducing the level of frustration.
InclusiveThis sport has been conceived so many people from different age groups and conditions that they can practice it and can enjoy their experience. Pickleball is considered the best sport for inclusion, wellness, and personal development.
Social and funIt is an extremely exciting and addictive sport that facilitates and promotes socialization with the rest of the players.
CompetitiveIt holds tactic complexity and fast pace which brings competitiveness to those who are thirsty for competition and bigger challenges. It can be seen in tournaments organized for all levels and ages.
Good for healthPickleball has many positive effects on your health just like other sports. The risk of getting injured in this sport is lower as compared to other sports due to is characteristics.

Also Read:

What Kind of Ball is Used in Pickleball?
What is A Volley in Pickleball? All You Need to Know

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs):

Who named this sport Pickleball?

There are two different accounts behind the name of pickleball. According to Joan Pritchard, Joel Pritchard started to call this game pickleball. It was so because this game is a combination of different sports.

What is pickle in the game pickleball?

The term pickle or being pickled is when a team scores zero points in the entire game. At that moment, it is said that you have been pickled. The court where the match or pickle game tournament is played is called the pickle dome.

Is the game pickle game a more straightforward game than tennis?

If we talk about movement, pickleball is considered an easy game compared to tennis. But when we talk about promptness and agility, tennis and pickleball are evaluated on the same ground. Tennis is played on a more significant court because of more movement.

In the game pickleball, with which equipment pickleball is played?

Pickleball is played with a paddle ball similar to the racket in pickleball, as seen in badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Minimum two and maximum four players play this game using this solid paddle made of wood or composite materials to hit the perforated polymer ball. A polymer ball is like a waffle ball and holds around 20-40 round holes.

Why is the game pickleball so famous?

In a nutshell, we can say that pickleball is an easy game as it is much easy to learn the paddle sport, which is appropriate for all players of all ages and skill levels. It is an excellent sport for beginners and experienced players playing fast-paced, challenging, and competitive games.

What is meant by the side out in the game pickleball?

A side out is a kind of rule related to pickleball in which a team is declared side out after one side loses its service, and another side is awarded service. 

Is pickleball considered a bad game for your knees?

Knee injuries are common injuries related to racket sports such as tennis, badminton, and pickleball. Players can suffer from acute sprains of the knee to meniscal and ligamentous injuries.

Is pickleball considered an Olympic sport?

No, pickleball is not an Olympic sport.

What is pickleball: a game or a sport?

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines tennis, badminton, and ping-pong involving paddle and plastic balls with holes. This game is considered appropriate for players of all ages and skill levels. 

What is a Pickle in Pickleball? All You Need to Know – Pickleball Manual

Saturday 26th of February 2022

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