Your New Favorite Sport: Pickleball 101


Although its name is misleading, pickleball has nothing to do with the vinegary fruit: pickleball is a game for all ages. Before you go out and buy a paddle, you need to learn the ins and outs of the game, however.

A U.S. sport

Pickleball was invented in the mid-1960s by a group of dads — no jokes required — in Seattle, Washington. These dads wanted a new way to enjoy the summer sun and weaved a combination of rules from other sports together. Many describe it as a combination of tennis, ping pong, and badminton.

Since pickleball’s inception, it’s grown in popularity around the globe.

How do you play?

This game is played on a pickleball court, similar in appearance to a badminton court: it’s the same size and lines stripe the court dividing it into sections with a net in the middle. On each side of play, the court is divided into two more sections: the volley zone and the non-volley zone. Close to the net in the non-volley zone, the game is played like ping pong; further back, it takes on a style similar to tennis. This game can be played one-on-one or in teams of two.

Only the serving team can score in a game of pickleball. After the ball is served with an underhand stroke at the baseline and the game begins. A player scores when the other team commits a fault. The first team to get to 11 points wins as long as they’re leading by two points or more.

A game for all

While tennis a 30-minute tennis match can burn between 169 and 208 calories, pickleball is a sport that’s great for all ages and skill sets; whether you’re old or young, this game of skill relies on strategy more than physical strength. It’s grown in popularity particularly among the older population.

A 68-year-old man from Indiana has improved his health greatly by playing pickleball. After suffering eight heart attacks, a stroke, and kidney failure, Pastor David Payton picked up pickleball. From there, he’s improved his health by playing multiple times a week and participating in tournaments across the country.

“Now I’ve been to every one of my doctors, and they’ve all said ‘whatever you’re doing, keep it up. My sugar level is perfect. Heart rate, kidney levels, blood pressure, all good,” he exclaimed in an interview with the Pharos-Tribune.

Because of pickleball’s versatility and worldwide appeal, tournaments and courts are popping up all over the country. Look for a pickleball court in your area to pick up the basics and start playing!

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