An Introduction To Pickleball
Pickleball is a popular paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. It is played on a court with a hard, smooth surface, typically outdoors, but it can also be played indoors on a gym floor or on a special pickleball court. The competitive game is played with a perforated plastic ball (plastic ball with holes) and graphite, fiberglass, or carbon fiber pickleball paddles.
The game is played by either two players (singles) or four players (doubles), with the players standing on opposite sides of a net. The ball is served from the serving area, which is a rectangular area on one side of the court, over the net and into the receiving area on the opposite side. Players hit the ball back and forth over the net, using their paddles, trying to score points by getting the ball to bounce in the opponent's court or by forcing the opponent to hit the ball out of bounds.
Pickleball is a fast-paced, energetic game that is easy to learn and fun to play. It is popular among people of all ages and skill levels, and it can be played recreationally or competitively. As of 2022, pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America.
How And When Did Pickleball Get Started?
Pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, by three fathers looking for a way to keep their children entertained during the summer. The game was originally played with a wiffle ball and ping-pong paddles, and it was named after the family's dog, Pickles, who chased the ball around the yard.
The competitive game quickly gained popularity in the region and spread to other parts of the United States and Canada. In 1972, the first official pickleball tournament was held in Washington state, and in 1976, the first national pickleball tournament was held in California. In the following years, the game continued to grow in popularity, and it is now played in countries all around the world.
Today, pickleball is organized by the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), which sets the rules and standards for the game and promotes its growth and development. The USAPA has over 300,000 members and offers a range of programs and resources for pickleball players of all skill levels.
Why Is It Called Pickleball?
Pickleball was named after the creators' family dog, Pickles, who would chase the ball around the yard during games. According to the story, the game was originally played with a wiffle ball and ping-pong paddles on the family's backyard badminton court, and Pickles would often retrieve the ball and bring it back to the players.
The founders of the game, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum, named it pickleball as a tribute to Pickles, the family's loyal and energetic pet. The name stuck, and pickleball has been known by that name ever since.
How Do You Play Pickleball?
Pickleball is played on a court that is similar in size and layout to a doubles badminton court, but with some modifications. The court is rectangular and measures 20 x 44 feet for doubles play and 20 x 34 feet for singles play. A net is placed across the center of the court, dividing it into two equal halves.
The game is played with a small, perforated plastic ball and wooden or composite paddles. The ball is served from the serving area, which is a rectangular area on one side of the court, over the net and into the receiving area on the opposite side. Players hit the ball back and forth over the net, using their paddles, trying to score points by getting the ball to bounce in the opponent's court or by forcing the opponent to hit the ball out of bounds.
To start the game, one player serves the ball diagonally across the net into the opponent's service court. The ball must be served underhand and must bounce once on the server's side of the court and once on the receiver's side before it can be hit. The receiver then hits the ball back over the net, and the two players or teams rally back and forth until one team fails to return the ball or hits it out of bounds.
Points are scored when the ball lands in the opponent's court or when the opponent hits the ball out of bounds. The first team to score 11 points and lead by at least two points wins the game. In tournament play, the match is usually the best two out of three games.
There are a number of rules and regulations that govern pickleball play, including rules for serving, scoring, and faulting. The USAPA has published a comprehensive set of rules for the game, which can be found on their website.
Pickleball Court Vs. Tennis Court Vs. Badminton Sized Court
Pickleball, tennis, and badminton courts are all similar in size and layout, but there are some key differences between them.
Pickleball courts are rectangular and measure 20 x 44 feet for doubles play and 20 x 34 feet for singles play. They are smaller than standard tennis courts, which measure 78 x 36 feet for singles play and 78 x 60 feet for doubles play. A pickleball court also has a lower net height than a tennis court, which is set at 34 inches at the center of the court.
Badminton courts are also rectangular and measure 20 x 44 feet (doubles badminton court) and 20 x 39 feet (singles play). Like a pickleball court, they have a lower net height than tennis courts, which are set at 5 feet 1 inch at the center of the court.
In terms of equipment, pickleball is played with a perforated plastic ball and wooden or composite paddles, while tennis is played with a rubber ball and rackets and badminton is played with a shuttlecock and rackets.
The main differences between a pickleball court, tennis court, and badminton courts are the size of the court, the height of the net, and the type of ball and rackets used.
How Does Pickleball Scoring Work?
Points are scored in pickleball when the opposing team fails to return the ball over the net or commits a fault (such as hitting the ball out of bounds or into the net). A serve that goes into the non-volley zone (also known as the kitchen) without being returned is also a point for the serving team.
Each team consists of either one or two players. In doubles play, each team member serves twice in a row before the serve is passed to the opposing team. In singles play, the server serves the ball to the opponent, and then the opponent hits the ball back to the server. The server then hits the ball back to the opponent, and play continues in this manner until one team scores a point or commits a fault.
Pickleball games are typically played to 11 points, but some tournaments and leagues may use a different scoring system. For example, some tournaments may use a 15-point scoring system or a best-of-three-games format. It is important to check the specific rules and scoring system for the particular tournament or league you are playing in.
The serving team is the team that serves the ball to start the point and every subsequent point in the game until they lose the point. The team that is not serving is the receiving team. The serving team has the responsibility of starting each point by serving the ball to the other team, and they continue to serve until they lose the point. Only the serving team rotates after each point, with the players on the serving team switching positions so that the next server is at the back of the court. The serving team also has the option to choose which side of the court they want to serve from, and they can change sides after each point. It is important for the serving team to serve accurately and with pace to put pressure on the receiving team and try to win the point.
Teams alternate serving and the team serving has the opportunity to score a point on each serve. The serving team's score increases by one point every time they successfully serve the ball and the receiving team is unable to return it, or if the receiving team makes an error such as hitting the ball out of bounds or into the net.
Official Rules of Pickleball
Pickleball is a fun and easy-to-learn racquet sport played with a paddle and a ball on a court similar to a tennis court. Here are some basic pickleball rules:
- The game is played with a hard paddle and a polymer ball on a court that is similar to a tennis court, but smaller in size.
- The ball must be served diagonally, with the server standing behind the baseline on one side of the court and hitting the ball over the net to the opposite service box.
- The ball must bounce once on the serve and once on the return.
- Players must let the ball bounce before hitting it, unless it is a serve.
- Players cannot hit the ball out of bounds or into the net.
- Players must hit the ball to the other side of the net, and it must land within the boundaries of the court on the opponent's side.
- Points are scored when the ball lands out of bounds, is hit into the net, or is not returned by the opposing player.
- The first team to reach 11 points and win by at least two points wins the game.
- When playing doubles play, players must serve and receive from the same side of the court, and the serving team changes after each game.
- In singles play, players serve and receive from opposite sides of the court, and the serving team changes after each point.
- Players may not block the ball or hit it with excessive force, and they must allow their opponents a fair chance to reach and hit the ball.
- Players may not intentionally distract or interfere with their opponents during play.
- Pickleball is a non-contact sport, and players should avoid physical contact with their opponents.
- Players should show good sportsmanship and respect for their opponents at all times.
- In the event of a dispute, the rules of the game should be followed and a neutral third party should be called to resolve the issue.
The Two Bounce Rule
The two-bounce rule in pickleball is a rule that requires the ball to bounce twice on the court before it can be hit by the players. This rule applies to all shots except for serves, which must be hit without bouncing.
The rule helps to keep the game fair and encourages players to hit the ball back and forth rather than trying to hit it out of the air. It also helps to keep the ball in play longer, which can lead to longer and more competitive rallies.
The two-bounce rule applies to both singles and doubles play. In singles play, each player is allowed to hit the ball after the ball bounces once on their side of the court. In a doubles team, both players on a team are allowed to hit the ball after it bounces once on their side of the court.
What Is The Kitchen Line In Pickleball?
In pickleball, the kitchen line is a boundary line located 7 feet from the net that separates the serving area from the non-serving area. It is called the "kitchen" because it is similar to the area in a kitchen where you are not allowed to stand while someone else is cooking.
In pickleball, players are not allowed to step into the kitchen or cross the kitchen line while serving. If a player steps on or over the kitchen line while serving, it is called a "foot fault" and the opposing team is awarded a point.
The kitchen line is an important part of pickleball because it helps to keep players in their designated areas on the court and ensures that the serving team rules are followed. It also helps to keep the game moving smoothly and fairly.
What Is A Regulation Pickleball Ball?
An official pickleball ball is a ball that is specifically designed for use in the game of pickleball. It is typically made of a hard, polymer material that is similar to a wiffle ball, and it is designed to be lightweight and bouncy.
To be considered an official pickleball ball, the ball must meet certain standards set by the USAPA, the governing body for pickleball in the United States. These standards include dimensions, weight, and performance characteristics.
For example, an official pickleball ball must be between 2.974 and 3.052 inches in diameter, weigh between 0.9 and 1.1 ounces, and have a bounciness of between 27 and 29 inches when dropped from a height of 100 inches.
There are several brands of pickleball balls that meet these standards and are approved for use in official pickleball tournaments and leagues. Some examples include the Dura Fast 40, the Onix Fuse G2, and the Jugs Indoor Pickleball.
It is important for players to use an official pickleball ball in order to ensure that the ball meets the standards for size, weight, and bounciness, and to ensure that the game is played fairly and according to the rules.
What Is A Regulation Pickleball Paddle
An official pickleball paddle must be between 15.5 and 17 inches in length, between 7 and 8.5 inches in width, and between 1/4 and 1/2 inches in thickness. The handle must be at least 4 inches in length, and the grip must be a minimum of 3.5 inches in diameter. The paddle must also weigh between 7.5 and 12 ounces. It is often compared to a ping-pong paddle.
There are many brands of pickleball paddles that meet these standards and are approved for use in official pickleball tournaments and leagues. There are many types of paddles, wooden paddles, carbon fiber paddles, and more. To find read more about pickleball paddles click here.
How Long Is A Game of Pickleball?
The length of a pickleball game depends on the format of the game and the level of play. In general, pickleball games are shorter than tennis matches, but they can still vary in length.
In singles play, a pickleball game is typically played to 11 points and must be won by at least two points. This means that a game could last anywhere from a few minutes to 15 minutes or more, depending on how competitive the match is and how long the rallies last.
In doubles play, a pickleball game is typically played to 15 points and must be won by at least two points. Like singles play, the length of a doubles game can vary based on the competitiveness of the match and the length of the rallies.
It is also worth noting that some pickleball tournaments and leagues may have different rules for game length, such as playing pickleball to 21 points or using a different point difference for winning. In these cases, the length of the game will depend on the specific rules in place.
Major League Pickleball?
While there is no official professional league or major league for pickleball, there are several organizations that sponsor tournaments and events at the national and international level for experienced players. The USAPA is the national governing body for pickleball in the United States and is responsible for organizing tournaments, promoting the sport, and establishing rules and regulations. The International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) is the international governing body for pickleball and works to promote the sport around the world.
There are several professional pickleball tournaments held throughout the year, including the US Open Pickleball Championships, the Pickleball National Championships, and the Pickleball Pan American Championships. These tournaments attract top players from around the world and offer significant prize money.
In addition to professional tournaments, there are also amateur leagues and pickleball clubs that offer opportunities for players of all skill levels to compete and enjoy the sport. Many communities have public pickleball courts or offer pickleball programs through their parks and recreation departments.
Where To Play And Find Pickleball Courts?
Pickleball courts can be found in a variety of locations, including community centers, parks, schools, and recreational facilities. Some areas may have dedicated pickleball courts, while others may have multi-use courts that can be used for a variety of sports. To find pickleball courts in your area, you can try the following options:
- Check with your local parks and recreation department to see if they have any pickleball courts available for use.
- Look for local pickleball clubs or groups in your area. These organizations often have access to courts and may be able to help you find a place to play.
- Check with local community centers, schools, and recreational facilities to see if they have any pickleball courts available for use.
- Use online resources, such as Pickleball Maps (https://www.pickleballmaps.com/), which can help you find pickleball courts in your area.
- Ask other pickleball players in your area if they know of any good places to play.
Pickleball is one the fastest growing sports in America and due to pickleball's popularity, it is becoming easier and easier to find courts! Many tennis courts have been renovated into pickleball courts.
- Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis
- It is played on a court that is similar in size to a doubles badminton court
- Players use paddles to hit a small perforated ball over a low net
- The ball is served diagonally and players take turns hitting it back and forth
- Pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors and is suitable for players of all ages and skill levels
- It is a fun, social, and physically demanding sport that is gaining popularity around the world