Pickleball is not about whacking salted cucumbers. Participation in the sport has grown by 21.3% over 2020 alone.
Many people think that pickleball is a recent sport. It is younger than baseball or gridiron football. But the history of pickleball stretches back decades.
Who were the founders of pickleball? How did it gain its initial popularity? Who organizes pickleball events, and where is the game played?
Answer these questions and you can gain a richer appreciation of the history of sports. Here is your quick guide.
The Origin of Pickleball
Playing pickleball dates back to 1965. Joel Pritchard was a member of the Washington House of Representatives, while Bill Bell was a businessman. After a day of playing golf, they returned home to find their children bored.
They proposed a game of badminton. Yet when Pritchard and Bell tried to find badminton rackets, they could not find a full set. They grabbed ping-pong paddles instead and used a plastic ball with holes in it.
They then set the height of the net at 60 inches and began hitting the ball over the net. The children and adults found the game enjoyable, and they made modifications as time went on. The net was brought down to 36 inches, and formal rules for the game were written.
Pritchard later became a United States congressman and the Lieutenant Governor of Washington. Yet he is most famous for his contributions to pickleball.
The Early Years
In 1967, Pritchard’s friend built a pickleball court in his backyard. The game became popular throughout Washington state, so some residents founded a corporation in 1972 to protect the game.
Pickleball became famous in the sports industry in 1975. A reporter for the National Observer wrote an article about it, discussing pickleball equipment and rules.
Within three years, entire books about pickleball were published. The first pickleball tournament took place in 1976.
The Game Gains Popularity
In 1984, the United States Amateur Pickleball Association was founded. The Association published the first rulebook on the sport, allowing amateurs to play.
By 1990, pickleball players were all in fifty states. Other people asked the question, “What is pickleball?” Enthusiasts started websites in order to answer this question, and the sport became popular amongst internet users.
The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) began operations in 2005. It has issued new rulebooks about the game and organized national tournaments.
In 2010, the USAPA established an international federation for pickleball competitions. The game has found popularity in dozens of countries. Though pickleball is not an Olympic sport, some Olympic-style events for seniors have offered it.
A Brief History of Pickleball
The history of pickleball may surprise you. Two fathers started the game in 1965 in order to entertain their children. One of them later became a congressman.
The spore grew quickly during the 1970s. National news articles brought people’s attention to pickleball, and it became popular amongst older Americans.
The internet allowed information about pickleball to spread further. Pickleball associations now run the sport and organize international events. Competitions are competitive, including amongst senior Americans.
Pickleball is an easy game you can learn today!
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