Pickleball has seen a meteoric rise in popularity over the last decade, especially among older adults. It is an indoor/outdoor paddle sport combining elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis; it can be played singles or doubles format. In this article we will provide an extensive guide to pickleball’s history, rules and tournaments.
History of Pickleball
Pickleball was invented in 1965 by three fathers on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum were looking for a way to entertain their families during summer days and set up a badminton court – but couldn’t find a shuttlecock so they made do with a perforated plastic ball and paddles instead. Soon friends and neighbors started playing along too and named it after Pritchard’s dog Pickles who would chase after the ball.
The sport of pickleball began to gain traction in the Pacific Northwest region of America and quickly spread throughout other parts of America. In 1972, Tukwila, Washington hosted its first tournament and ever since there has been an estimated 4 million players across America.
How to Play Pickleball
Pickleball is played on a court that’s about the size of a badminton court – 20 feet wide and 44 feet long for doubles play, or 20 feet wide and 22 feet long for singles play. The net is set at 36 inches high at each edge and 34 inches in the middle for optimal viewing angles.
The game begins with a serve, which is made diagonally from the right-hand court. The receiver must let the ball bounce once before returning it; players then have two options: volley (hitting before it bounces) or play off of bounce. In order for a point to be won by their opponent, the ball must land within inbounds on their side of the court.
One of the unique aspects of pickleball is the “kitchen,” or “non-volley zone.” This seven-foot area on either side of the net prohibits players from volleying the ball. They must let it bounce before entering this zone and keep one foot outside while hitting it.
Scoring in Pickleball
Pickleball utilizes a modified version of tennis’ scoring system. The first player or team to score 11 points and lead by two points wins the game; tournament play usually consists of best-of-three matches.
In addition to the basic regulations outlined above, there are several other important ones players must abide by in pickleball. Here are a few of the most essential ones:
- Only the serving team can score points. If the receiving team wins the rally, they do not score a point but get to serve next.
- If the ball hits the net during serve and lands inbounds, it is called a “let” and replayed for accuracy.
- A player cannot hit the ball twice in a row, except in the case of a return that hits both their paddle and body.
- If the ball lands on or near the line, it is considered inbounds.
- If someone steps into the kitchen while volleying the ball, that is considered an error and their opponent wins the point.
Pickleball tournaments have seen a resurgence in recent years, with both amateur and professional players competing for cash prizes. Here is a list of some of the major pickleball competitions held around the world:
- US Open Pickleball Championships: The US Open is one of the world’s premier pickleball events, drawing thousands of players and spectators each year to Naples, Florida for its amateur and professional divisions.
- National Pickleball Tournament: Held annually in Brigham City, Utah, the National Pickleball Tournament draws players from around the country. There are both singles and doubles events as well as various age and skill level categories available at this tournament.
- Canadian Pickleball Championships: Held annually throughout Canada, the Canadian Pickleball Championships draw players from all over the country as well as from the United States. This tournament offers both singles and doubles events, along with age and skill-level categories for everyone to enjoy.
- World Pickleball Championships: Held annually around the world, these championships offer a range of events for players of all abilities and ages. Singles, doubles, mixed doubles and senior competitions can be found within these four events.
- International Indoor Pickleball Championships: Hosted annually in Las Vegas, Nevada, the International Indoor Pickleball Championships attract players from around the world. This tournament offers a range of events such as singles, doubles, mixed doubles and age-specific categories for players to enjoy.
Pickleball was first included in the World Games of 2013, a multi-sport event for non-Olympic sports. Since then, pickleball has been included at each subsequent edition.
Benefits of Playing Pickleball
Pickleball is a great sport for health and fitness that offers many rewards:
- Pickleball is a sport that provides numerous advantages for players of all ages and skill levels. Here are some of the most notable advantages:
- Low-Impact Exercise: Pickleball is a low-impact sport, meaning that it is less likely to cause injuries than high-impact sports such as basketball or running. As such, pickleball makes for an ideal exercise choice.
- Improves Cardiovascular Health: Pickleball is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise that can promote heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Social Interaction: Pickleball is a social sport, and playing with others can foster social connections and reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation.
- Improves Hand-Eye Coordination: Pickleball requires excellent hand-eye coordination, and playing the sport over time can help develop these skills.
- Easy to Learn: Pickleball is an accessible sport for players of all ages and abilities to learn quickly, making the sport ideal for beginners. Players with various levels of expertise will find no difficulty picking up the game quickly.
Where to Bet on Pickleball
Oddly enough, none of the legal betting websites currently feature Pickleball betting. Nevertheless, there is an opportunity with this sport.
Tennis, which is the closest sport to Pickleball, consistently ranks as one of the second or third most-bet on sport worldwide. Based on this, the prediction is that Pickleball will follow suit in popularity over time. With shorter matches and more time between points, there is a great opportunity to place in-game bets on who will score the next point multiple times a game. Expect sportsbooks to offer Pickleball betting soon!
Pickleball is an enjoyable and engaging sport that appeals to players of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re searching for a low-impact form of exercise, socialization opportunities, or competition to test your abilities in pickleball – there’s something here for everyone. With its growing popularity worldwide and an ever growing selection of tournaments held worldwide, now is the perfect time to give pickleball a try!