WERT — Pickleball — the racquet sport created one summer day to combat
boredom — is sweeping across the United States. The 50-year-old sport
now has more than 150,000 players in the U.S. and has been called the
fastest-growing sport in America by NBC News.
It’s a phenomenon
unlike any other sport predominantly played by seniors. The courts are
shorter — four to a regulation tennis court — the racquets are paddles,
and they play with waffle balls. And they have fun.
Association (USAPA) was organized to promote the growth and development
of Pickleball, on both a national and international level. This
organization provides players with official rules, tournaments, rankings
and promotional materials. The USAPA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3)
corporation. It’s governed by a board of directors who provide the
guidance and infrastructure for the continued growth and development of
How It All Started
Pickleball was invented in
1965 on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle, Washington.
Three dads, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum, whose kids
were bored with their usual summertime activities, are credited for
creating the game. Pickleball has evolved from original handmade
equipment and simple rules into a popular sport throughout the U.S. and
Canada. The game is growing internationally as well with many European
and Asian countries adding courts.
court is the same size as a doubles badminton court and measures
20-by-44 feet. In Pickleball, the same court is used for both singles
and doubles play. The net height is 36 inches at the sidelines and 34
inches in the middle. The court is striped similar to a tennis court
with right and left service courts and a 7-foot non-volley zone in front
of the net (referred to as the “kitchen”).
Courts can be constructed specifically for Pickleball or they can be converted using existing tennis or badminton courts.
player uses a Pickleball paddle, which is smaller than a tennis racquet
but larger than a ping-pong paddle. Originally, paddles were made only
from wood. However, today’s paddles have evolved and are primarily made
of lightweight composite materials, including aluminum and graphite.
will also need a net and a Pickleball. The ball itself is unique, with
holes through it like a wiffleball; there are different ball models
intended for indoor and outdoor play. The ball travels at one-third the
speed of a tennis ball and is usually white or yellow in color. New
bright color balls are also gaining in popularity.
Basic Rules Overview
Pickleball is played either as doubles (two players per team) or singles; doubles is most common.
The same size playing area and rules are used for both singles and doubles.
The serve must be made underhand.
Paddle contact with the ball must be below the server’s waist (navel level).
serve is initiated with at least one foot behind the baseline; neither
foot may contact the baseline or court until after the ball is struck.
The serve is made diagonally cross court and must land within the confines of the opposite diagonal court.
one serve attempt is allowed, except in the event of a let (the ball
touches the net on the serve and lands on the proper service court; let
serves are replayed). For a complete list of rules, go to the USAPA
Interested in learning how to play pickleball?
Join us at the YMCA. The YMCA of Van Wert County provides paddles, balls
and nets for pickleball play; all you have to bring is water and tennis
shoes. Information about pickleball, membership and other programming
available at the Van Wert YMCA can be found by calling 419-238-0443 or
visiting www.vwymca.org. The YMCA of Van Wert County is partially funded
by the Van Wert County Foundation and United Way.