All About Pickleball

Pickleball is a fun game, easy to play, and available everywhere. We provide here a summary of all the main points about pickleball’s history, development and play. You’ll find links built in to obtain more information about pickleball courts near you, building a pickleball club, funding pickleball court development, running a pickleball tournament and pickleball equipment, including pickleball paddles, balls and more. Enjoy!

  1. What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a court game. The court itself resembles a tennis court but is much smaller. The game itself is played using composite paddles that look like table-tennis paddles on steriods. The ball is usually plastic and resembles a “whiffle ball”, complete with holes (although it’s much stronger). Because learning to play pickleball is relatively easy, it’s a favorite with youth everywhere; because pickleball can be a very fast-paced and strategic game, it’s the favorite of athletes and has its own pickleball professional tours. And because it’s slightly easier on the body than tennis, it’s always been a great sport for geezer-jocks who want to keep competing although a year or two older and perhaps a step slower. There are wheelchair pickleball leagues and wheelchair events showing up in tournaments. Currently it’s one of the fastest-growing participant sports in the United States and is growing strongly internationally as well. There have been rumors for a few years now that pickleball will soon become a demonstration sport at the Summer Olympic Games. That’s just a rumor but no question the game is now everywhere, with more people having heard about it than not.

The history of pickleball is fascinating. A relatively young sport, it originated in Bainbridge Island, Washington in 1965. (Compare this with tennis, which started probably started in the monastic cloisters of France in the 12th century.) There are several versions of how pickleball came to be in its present form. One of the questions most commonly asked is “how did pickleball get its name?” Several versions of the origins are available here, and the question of how did it get its name is answered in a couple of different ways. Spoiler Alert – we’re not big Pickles the Dog” fans. Hey, just our two cents -your mileage will vary.

Pickleball is currently considered one of the fastest growing participant sports (as opposed to spec.tator sports) in the U.S. Its primary governing body, the US Pickleball Association, says that currently about 4,000,000 people play pickleball regularly. You can find pickleball courts and games everywhere and because pickleball etiquette is so welcoming, you’re sure to be embraced once you go learn.

For lots more on the subject of “What is Pickleball”, go here.

How to play pickleball

The usual pickleball game is played in a doubles format with two pickleball players facing two others across the net. In pickleball scoring, points are scored only by the serving team (with a couple of exceptions, such as Rally Scoring, where a point is recorded on every serve irrespective of who wins the point.) Pickleball games are typically played to 11 points, win by two. Tournament matches are usually two games out of three. There are exceptions to the above but those are the standards. If you’d like to know about how to play pickleball, pickleball rules and scoring, please go here.

Pickleball venues include both open play times, where everybody gathers at certain courts and teams or individuals “challenge in” to get games. This is a very fun way to meet new fellow pickleball players and to introduce yourself to the game in the only way worth discussing….by playing pickleball. But there are many forms of organized pickleball play as well. The terms are explained here, but some are Round Robins, Ladder Play, Shootouts, “Fun” tournaments, Rated USAPA Tournaments and more. Go here for other information on formats generally.

At any level above beginner, key elements of pickleball strategy consists of patience, placement, and control. Generally the concept is to keep the ball in play until the opposing team makes an error by hitting the net, or hitting the ball out of bounds. “Slamming” the ball has its place, too – and more so today, as “big bangers” hop from competitive tennis into our more laid-back and fun game. For more about strategies, including a couple of different approaches, go here.

Pickleball Clubs

Once people begin to play regularly, they soon wish to challenge themselves against others of like age and skill groupingThey want organized play, like Round Robins, Ladders and Shootouts. They want pickleball training, clinics, and fun events like Paddle Vendor Day and the like. Tournaments are a natural for pickleball clubs which are often big enough to provide most of the volunteerism a well-run tournament requires. Pickleball lubs help allow all these to happen, by providing structure. There is no question that the formation of a pickleball club helps develop funding for pickleball courts and pickleball complexes. Beyond that, it provides organized skills training whereby people can jump into pickleball training at the appropriate level and improve faster. In addition, pickleball clubs often provide pickleball player ratings, interface with the USAPA to insure tournaments are sanctioned, coordinates with the community on fair-use distribution of playing times (in the case of public-owned courts), coordinates fair court utilization through the establishment of a pickleball court utilization committee. and much more. It isn’t unusual for a community to grow from several isolated courts to 16 or more pickleball courts in a single complex. Of course that also means that the player growth is phenomenal as well – in several cases we have watched pickleball clubs grow from 20 or less players to near 1,000 players in just two or three years.

Establishing and running a pickleball club successfully has its own set of complexities. Please go here to learn more about organizing a pickleball club and to here for more about helping them become successful.


Pickleball Courts

There are two general considerations with pickleball courts. One is insuring there are enough of them built. This means funding, the process by which enough money is set aside for them to be built. It’s impossible to say exactly how much a good pickleball court will cost to build. We have literally seen excellent courts built of asphalt outside.. Additionally we’ve seen indoor courts built with asphalt, wood (gymnasium) flooring, concrete and sports-court rubberized materials. ”They were ridiculously good although they were “only” asphalt. Self done courts with careful DIY builders can easily cost as little as $10K the first time though. Those same courts may not be any better than the professionally done couts that could cosdt $50kto $100K

There are two aspects of courts. One is constructing

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