If you do not know what pickleball is by now, you might be living under a rock. Easily explained as a toned-down combination of badminton and tennis, the game with the funny-sounding name is now being taken quite seriously. It is growing at an impressive rate. As the popularity of pickleball surges ahead faster than most people can fathom. Articles from top online sources about Pickleball’s growth:
As an example the USAPA (United States of America Pickleball Association) has a National event in Arizona. In 2013 they had 400 players on 24 courts, in 2016 they had 900 players on 32 courts and an extra day was added. The event was maxed out and there was a waiting list.
Pickleball, The Birth of a New Pastime
Pickleball was originally created back in 1965 at then-congressman Joel Pritchard’s house with his golf buddy, businessman Bill Bell. As the two were trying to find something fun for their families to do, they were frustrated in that they were unable to find their badminton equipment. They decided to improvise, using a whiffle ball and some ping pong paddles to play their makeshift game. At first, they left the badminton net at its original height of 60 inches, but after finding out that the plastic ball bounced quite well on the asphalt, they lowered the net to 36 inches, just half a foot lower than a standard tennis net. The pickleball name came from Pritchard’s dog “Pickle” who had a tendency to run off with the ball in his mouth. Just like that, a new game was created, and people young and old were all too eager to give it a try.
Rules were soon developed, largely based on tennis and badminton rules, and pickleball was officially born. As any new sport would, it gained in popularity but only as word of mouth allowed. After all, this was the 60’s, and the internet wasn’t really a thing yet. Nonetheless, it’s fun and casual nature attracted people of all skill levels, yet those with a competitive spirit found a challenge in being the best pickleball player on the block. As the sport found fans and players both with men and women, popularity gained steadily. It was a fun game for the family to play, but also one that with a fair amount of skill and practice, could be mastered just like any other game.
The ball used in the game is a polymer ball and it has small holes (perforations) in it. The court size is similar to a badminton court whereas the net used is more like a net used in tennis with small modifications. There can be singles, doubles and mixed doubles categories in the game.
Currently, there are more than 2.5 million players playing this sport in just the US. Formation of IFP, International Federation of Pickleball, and USAPA, came about because the sport is gaining popularity in other countries, such as India, Britain, France and Canada. Of course, the true excitement of the game can only be felt when you are a part of it.
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