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When was pickleball invented?


By Kyle Whatnall

on Aug 30, 2023

The story of pickleball, a sport that's gained tremendous traction in recent years, is one such fascinating narrative. As its name suggests, there's a quirky tale behind its inception. So, when did pickleball first bounce onto the scene, why is it christened after a pickle, and who do we thank for this brilliant game? Let's dive in.

When did pickleball become a sport?

Pickleball was birthed in the summer of 1965. While that might seem recent when compared to age-old sports like tennis or badminton, pickleball has managed to pack in a rich history and evolution in just a few decades.

Why is it called pickleball?

Ah, the name! One of the most intriguing facets of the sport. Contrary to what some might believe, the game has no direct connection to the pickled cucumber snack. The popular tale behind the name is tied to the co-inventor's dog, Pickles. This canine companion was notorious for chasing after the ball during the game. As a tribute to this playful pup, the sport was christened "pickleball." However, there's another twist to the story. Joan Pritchard, the wife of one of the game's inventors, claimed the name came from the term “pickle boat”, a term in rowing for a boat that comprises leftover crew members from other boats. Given the sport’s eclectic blend of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, the name seemed fitting.

Who invented pickleball?

Pickleball is the brainchild of three enterprising gentlemen: Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. The trio was looking for a game that the entire family could enjoy during their summer vacation on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Unable to find a complete set of equipment for any one game, they improvised with what was at hand. And, in a stroke of genius or perhaps serendipity, pickleball was born.

Where was pickleball invented?

As alluded to above, the sport's birthplace is the scenic Bainbridge Island in Washington. In the backyard of Joel Pritchard's home, to be precise. The family was seeking a way to entertain their bored children and ended up laying the foundation for a sport that would go on to sweep across continents.

In Conclusion

The origins of pickleball, much like the game itself, are filled with unexpected twists and delightful quirks. From its serendipitous inception on Bainbridge Island by three innovative minds, to its whimsically debated name, pickleball's history is as engaging as the sport itself. And as more and more enthusiasts take to the court, the legacy of Pritchard, Bell, and McCallum and their summer game innovation continues to grow. Looking for a beginner paddle to get your pickleball journey started? If so, check out this article on the best pickleball paddles for beginners! If you haven't tried it yet, perhaps it's time to see what the pickleball fuss is all about!

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