What is Pickleball? A Glimpse of One of the Most Popular Sport

Two men playing pickleball with paddles and net on a court

Pickleball is a quick-paced sport related to table tennis, badminton, and tennis. It is played on a level court with a perforated plastic ball volleyed over a low net with paddles with short handles.

Pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors, and matches consist of two pairs of players (doubles) or two opposing players (singles). After being established in the United States in 1965, pickleball saw tremendous growth in the early years of the twenty-first century.

People of different ages and ability levels play pickleball worldwide. It’s a popular sport because it’s very social, strategic, and a wonderful physical workout. Compared to other sports, the game is really affordable.

History of Pickleball: Idea and Invention

The game was invented by three fathers, Bill Bell, Barney McCallum, and Joel Pritchard, on Bainbridge Island, Washington, in the summer of 1965. Ping pong paddles and a perforated plastic ball were used to begin the game. In 1967, the first permanent court was built, and in 1972, the first company was established to market the game.

Soon after, the team came up with the fundamental pickleball regulations. Pickleball is said to have been named after Joan Pritchard, Pritchard’s wife. The combination of components and apparatus from other sports reminded her of a “pickle boat,” which meant a boat composed of rowers from various crews competing together for pleasure at the conclusion of a rowing tournament.

When Pickleball Became ‘Official’

Over the years, pickleball became well-known in the United States as word of this enjoyable, simple-to-learn sport traveled throughout the Pacific Northwest. Even though pickleball grew steadily during the first several decades of its existence, the epidemic that struck in early 2020 prevented the game from reaching its full potential.

People found themselves stranded at home with their families, yearning for a means to enjoy themselves and get moving without having to leave their homes or driveways. Pickleball, with its straightforward rules, low setup costs, portable net, and compact court dimensions, was the ideal solution.

Furthermore, pickleball allows players of all ages and skill levels to join together on the court because the game has such low entrance barriers. It makes sense that, according to the SFIA data, the number of new pickleball players in 2022 surpassed the total number of pickleball players in 2021 and increased by 158.6 percent in just three years.

How to Play Pickleball: Rules and Techniques

A visual representation of the tennis court dimensions: 78 feet long by 27 feet wide for singles, 36 feet wide for doubles

Like in tennis, the player on the right side of the court serves to start the game and each point. The ball must go crosscourt and land inside the lines of the opposing square. The serve is a fault if the ball strikes the net, goes out of bounds, or lands in “The Kitchen,” which is the first few feet from the net.

Players can’t volley until the ball has bounced once on each side of the net. From then, you can only hit the ball within the service area, either after it bounces or in the air. Additionally, “The Kitchen” is a non-volley zone.

This is because players have an unfair advantage when they stand close to the net because it makes volleying too simple. If a ball bounces off the court in the non-volley zone, the player can hit it. Pickleball for beginners mainly consists of the following rules:

  1. The team that serves scores points, and you play to eleven points. A team must prevail by two points.
  2. The team’s server plays from the right side of the court when the serving side has an even score. The server plays from the left side when the score is odd.
  3. You must serve the ball underhandedly, holding the paddle and the ball below your waist.
  4. You cross-court serve diagonally. You must maintain at least one foot behind the baseline and avoid stepping on the court or sideline area when serving.
  5. Players continue to play until they make a fault, which is any infraction of the rules that ends the round. The player that serves first comes from the right side of the court; if the server wins a point, they serve from the left side of the court.
  6. That team only has one opportunity to serve after the game’s opening serve (unless they make a mistake). However, the other side then has a chance to serve both players (that is, until their team commits two errors). Each team receives just one fault following this round, at which point the serve is turned over to the opposing team.
  7. The two-bounce rule applies. This implies that before returning the ball, each side must allow it to bounce once. Following those two bounces, you have the option of hitting the ball off a bounce or before it bounces (volleying).
  8. Within seven feet on either side of the net is a zone known as “the kitchen.” This area is designated as a “no-volley,” which means that you can only strike a ball from here if it bounces first. It is deemed improper to hit a volley while standing in the kitchen. If, after hitting a volley, you inadvertently walk into the kitchen, even if it was only due to momentum, it is also a mistake.
  9. A ball is “in” when it touches any portion of the line.
  10. A serve that ends up in the kitchen is not good.

Also Read: A Comprehensive Guide to How to Play Pickleball

Outdoor Pickleball vs. Indoor Pickleball

Here are some key aspects of Indoor Pickleball vs. Outdoor Pickleball:

Aspect Outdoor Pickleball Indoor Pickleball
Court Surface Asphalt or concrete Wooden or synthetic flooring
Weather Conditions Susceptible to wind, sun, and temperature Controlled environment, shielded from elements
Lighting Natural light and variable artificial lighting Consistent lighting throughout the court
Court Size Standard dimensions, surrounding open space Standard dimensions, potential walls or barriers
Ball Type Designed for outdoor durability Optimized for indoor play
Noise Level Ambient outdoor noise, potential echoes Controlled acoustics, less ambient noise
Availability Dependent on outdoor space and weather Dependent on facility availability

Why is Pickleball so Popular?

Pickleball players engaged in a lively match on a pickleball court, showcasing their skills and agility

One of the games in the United States that is expanding the fastest is pickleball, and pickleball clubs are springing up everywhere. Pickleball is more popular than tennis in many areas. During the Covid-19 outbreak, when people sought for safe, socially distancing outdoor exercise options, the game gained popularity.

The sport’s growth has also been aided by celebrity supporters like Tom Brady, greater media coverage, and the construction of new courts by gyms and parks to meet demand.

Pickleball is growing in popularity among athletes for the following reasons:

  • For players of all ages and abilities, pickleball is ideal. If you enjoy playing badminton, ping pong, or tennis, you’ll take up pickleball rules fast. This is a great sport for players of all ages and ability levels because it’s simple to learn and teach others.
  • Pickleball is an enjoyable, sociable game that helps participants stay active. Comparing a pickleball court to a tennis court, the former is much smaller. A tennis court can accommodate four pickleball courts, and the same court can be used for singles and doubles play. The compact court size facilitates active conversation between players and opponents.
  • Pickleball provides low-impact, low-intensity exercise. Pickleball is a low-stress, low-impact sport. The court is sufficiently tiny to prevent players with restricted mobility or joint issues from putting undue physical strain on their bodies as they play.
  • A great activity for parks and recreation centers is pickleball. Parks, resorts, and sports recreation centers are joining the pickleball craze. Why? To accommodate the increasing popularity of pickleball, it is simple to divide a tennis court into multiple pickleball courts.

How to Get Started

A group of people playing pickleball on a court with paddles, enjoying a friendly match in the open air

While many pickleball locations allow you to rent equipment, if you plan on playing more often, you may consider buying some for yourself. The primary pieces of equipment you will need are a pickleball paddle and a pickleball ball.

Pickleball Paddle

The paddle is the most important equipment for every pickleball player. The role of the paddle is to hit the ball across the net and into your opponent’s hands. It has a handle and a flat oval surface.

You will be free to choose among numerous materials for the surface and core of the paddle you feel will make your own playing style enhanced more powerful, accurate, controlled way, pick one of the following examples:

Pickleball paddles might be heavier or lighter, based on your playing style.

  • Lightweight paddles mainly up to 205 gms are quite effective when it comes to providing control and quick response
  • Beginners might want to get something light (between 205 and 240 g), which will have the requisite power and control.
  • Heavier paddles that go over 240 gms are an excellent choice power while playing pickleball

Think about the thickness of the core of your pickleball paddle as well: The core thickness typically falls in the 11-16 mm range; thinner cores will shot-make for more power, and larger cores will give you more control. It all comes in finding the right fit for you and your paddle of choice, depending on your style of play and preferred approach to the court.

Pickleball Balls

The pickleball is completely hollow and structured of plastic, with holes all over it . In terms of precedence, one can play pickleball across or outside and with two distinct balls:

  • Outdoor: it is played with a more massive ball of forty holes, more appropriate for wind-demanding conditions
  • Indoor: light ball will utilize 26 holes, which will last longer and transport more pleasant conditions.

The motivation behind the ball’s holes is to let the ball travel in the air rod . The ball slides uniformly and resonates where you point your strokes because the air passes over it.


Pickleball is a sociable, enjoyable sport! The game can become fast-paced and competitive, but it has straightforward rules that are easy for beginners to pick up.

Pickleball’s appeal has grown within the past few years. In fact, pickleball is regarded as one of the sports in the US with the greatest rate of growth. Pickleball is becoming more and more popular, to the point where many parks and recreation organizations include it in their sports offerings. The game has been around for decades.


What does a Pickleball look like?

A pickleball is a healthy ball that looks like a dozen holes in a plastic ball, much like a miniature wiffleball.

What is Pickleball game?

Pickleball is a paddle sport that is derived from tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. You hit the hollow plastic back and forth using the paddle.

What type of ball is used in Pickleball?

A plastic ball with a dozen round holes used in pickleball is a better variety specifically made for fewer bounces and control.

Why is pickleball so popular?

Pickleball is popular because it is easy to learn, easy to access and play for people of all ages and skill levels, and offers a sociable atmosphere . It’s a fun and entertaining way to stay active and social.

What is a Pickleball made of?

A pickleball is made of plastic , however the materials and building may differ by manufacturer and model.