55 Things to do #28: Learn All About Pickleball

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Arizona might be best known for great golf and spring training baseball, but there’s a new game in town: Pickleball. In fact, Arizona is often considered the Pickleball mecca, with the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) Nationals Tournament held each year in Buckeye, and the USAPA located right in Surprise.

As one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, this tennis, badminton and ping-pong hybrid is helping to entertain and keep more people healthy every day.

Most importantly, Pickleball’s ridiculously fun to play. And you’ll have plenty of opportunity to do so at Victory. So, in the meantime, keep an eye out for official Pickleball related announcements and get prepped to play by learning more about the rules of the game, its history and some fun facts in the sections below.

Rules of the Game

Pickleball was originally invented on a badminton court, so the game borrows heavily from badminton for its rules and court design. Check out the video below to get a brief overview of the rules of the game.

Video courtesy of USA Pickleball Association.

For a more comprehensive list of rules, download the PDF of the International Federation of Pickleball Official Tournament Rulebook here.

History of Pickleball

  • 1965: Washington State Rep. Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell improvised one Saturday afternoon to create a family friendly game on an old badminton court using ping-pong paddles, a perforated plastic ball, and lowered net heights. A rough set of rules was developed shortly afterwards.
  • 1967: The first Pickleball specific court was constructed in the backyard of Joel Pritchard’s friend, Bob O’Brian.
  • 1976: Pickleball’s first tournament is held at at South Center Athletic Club in Tukwila, Washington.
  • 1976: Tennis magazine writes an article about Pickleball: “America’s Newest Racquet Sport”.
  • 1984: The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) is organized and the first official rule book published.
  • 2001: The game of Pickleball was included at the Arizona Senior Olympics in Surprise, AZ a drew over 100 players.
  • 2009: The first USAPA National Tournament is held November 2-8, 2009 in Buckeye, Arizona. Over 400 players from 26 states and several Canadian provinces participated.

Fun Facts

  • Meet up with other Verrado Pickleball enthusiasts at the Verrado Pickleball Club™.
  • As of July 2014, there are over 2,500 different places to play Pickleball listed on the USAPA Places to Play page.
  • It’s easy to convert a current tennis court to a Pickleball court. Check out how here.
  • There are two accounts as to the origin of the name “Pickleball”: the game is either named after the “pickle boat” in crew, which was manned by oarsmen leftover from other boats, as Pickleball borrowed from other racquet sports; or it is named after the Pritchards’ cocker spaniel “Pickles”, who would chase after the ball when the family played.
  • Pickleball’s popularity has been covered on both CNN and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.

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