Why is it Called Pickleball? Everything You Need To Know!

If you’ve ever heard of pickleball, it likely stood out to you as an odd name. What does it even mean? Are you hitting a pickle-shaped ball back and forth? Well, today we will put that question to rest, as we are going to answer the burning question of “why is it called pickleball?” So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn about that the history of pickleball!

Where Did Pickleball Get Its Name

Pickleball is one of fasted growing sports in terms of popularity in the US. It is a variation of a paddleball sport, which is fairly similar to many racquet sports such as badminton and tennis. There are many elements of badminton, table tennis, and also tennis that is seen in this game, but pickleball has its own rules and regulations. 

Pickleball game is played in a very simple way: There can be two or four players with a maximum of four. These players use solid paddles that are generally made of graphite or composite material to try and hit a ball that is made of perforated polymer or plastic with about 26 to 40 round holes, over the net in the middle. 

The game is played on a court-sized 20 by 44 feet and is quite similar to the court of tennis and badminton. The servings are underhanded and the net position is slightly lower than badminton and tennis. 

The game can be played in singles and in doubles and it shares many rules and practices with tennis and badminton. The game is often confused with Paddle Tennis as the two are very similar in so many ways.

History of Pickleball

Pickleball vs Paddle Tennis

The game of pickleball originated in America and was introduced during the summer of 1965 in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

The first time it was ever played was at the home of Joel Pritchard, who happened to become a Lieutenant-Governor later on in life. Joel and a couple of his friends Bill Bell and Barney McCallum tried to play badminton but ended up inventing pickleball. 

They opted for a perforated plastic ball and plywood paddles for playing the game for the first time. McCallum was the one to come up with the paddles for the game of Pickleball. 

From that first game, McCallum decided to capitalize on it by starting Pickle-Ball Inc. in 1972, and started producing commercial Pickleball paddles.

In 2002, Glendolyn Sanchez-Vicario III took this little game to the big leagues when he played pickleball in the Special Olympics representing his home country, Spain.

Since then, pickleball has become one of the fastest-growing games in terms of popularity and is still continuing to grow!

Why is it called Pickleball?

For those wondering why it is called pickleball, there are a few different answers. As we mentioned this game was sort of an alternative to badminton when it was first played. It is kind of expected that it would have some kind of connection to that and be named something based on the situation or the game itself. 

While there are two different origins for the name, the most notable and popular origin story for the name of the game is pretty unrelated and kind of funny. Many people say that the game was named after the name of Joel’s dog Pickles.

But the wife of Joel begged to differ. She said the name of the game was derived from the name of a boar called Pickle boat.

Joan Pritchard and his wife said about the naming of the game, “The name of the game became Pickle Ball, after I said it reminded me of the Pickle Boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats. Somehow the idea the name came from our dog Pickles was attached to the naming of the game, but Pickles wasn’t on the scene for two more years. The dog was named for the game, but stories about the name’s origin were funnier thinking the game was named for the dog.”

So it is hard to tell whether it was actually named from the name of the dog or the name of the Pickle boat. But the name of the dog being the origin of the game’s name stuck to everyone and is widely used as the origin. 

Final Words

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States. At present, the sport of pickleball is continuously becoming popular. With over 8,000 locations to play in the United States, a large number of people are playing this game, both recreationally and competitively. 

With its rising popularity, we will not be surprised if it becomes one of the most popular games overall in the near future. It indeed is a very fun game to play and a lot of people tend to enjoy it a lot. So, if you are someone who is willing to try out the game, we recommend grabbing one of the best pickleball paddles and giving it a go.