History of pickleball and how pickleball originated
First ever photo of Pickleball by https://usapickleball.org/

Pickleball is not much a very old game rather it’s history extends up to 1965 when three friends and neighbors came home and they wanted to enjoy. These three friends were Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. When these men came to their homes, they found their families sitting idle. Joel, Bill, and Barney decided to play some badminton on the tennis court present in the backyard of Joel’s house. At this point, the history of pickleball was started.

They searched for tennis rackets which they could not find but were determined to play Badminton, not knowing they will introduce one of the most popular sports ‘PickleBall’. These three dads started playing Badminton with Ping Pong Paddles and a Plastic Ball. 

They began playing it with a net at a height of 60 inches high. They observed that the perforated ball bounced well on asphalt surface due to which they eventually lowered the net to a height of 36 inches and this became the game’s first rule. 

Over time, they started to make their own rules for this sport which were very similar to that of Tennis, Badminton, and Ping Pong.

This sport became popular among Americans and was called PickleBall after a while.


According to some accounts, Pickles was Joel Pritchard’s dog, and he chased the ball, put it in his mouth, and then ran off the court But this is not confirmed.

It doesn’t matter whether it was named after the dog or the dog was named after it. Regardless, a great sport was born.


The three dads were much obsessed with this newly formed game that they decided to construct a new court for it rather than play it on the tennis court. The first permanent Pickleball court was constructed in the backyard of Joel’s friend and neighbor “Bob O’Brian” in 1967.


In 1972, a corporation was formed to protect this sport and provide rights to its players called ‘Picklers’. This corporation played a major role in forming Pickleball into a proper sport.


The world’s first Official Pickleball Tournament was held in 1975 at  South Center Athletic Club in Tukwila, Washington. It was won by David Lester. Mainly, college students participated in this newly formed game but they didn’t knew much about it.

What was the first Pickleball Book?

As it was gaining popularity, authors started to write about it. In 1978, the first book about Pickleball was published with the title “The Other Raquet Sports”.


The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) was formed in 2005, with the following members on its first board of directors:

  • Steve Wong, Vice President
  • Fran Myer, Secretary
  • Lela Reed, Treasurer 
  • Phil Mortenson, General Counsel
  • Phil Mortenson, Grievance
  • Erne Perry, Marketing
  • Earl Hill, National/International Relations and the Ambassador Program 
  • Mark Friedenberg, Ratings and Rankings 
  • Dennis Duey, Rules
  • Norm Davis, Training
  • Steve Wong, Webmaster 


In 1990, Pickleball was played in almost all 50 states of the US. The Americans much liked this new Racquet Sport and it is still very popular as of 2023.

In 2008. This combination of Racket, badminton, and Ping Pong was included in National Senior Games Association (NSGA).


The very first USAPA tournament was held in 2009 in which almost 400 players from different states and Canadian provinces participated.


The Founding Father of pickleball ‘Joel Patrichd’ died in 1997 at the age of 72 years. After 9 years, one of the other originators ‘Bill Bell’ also passed away in 2006 at the age of 2006. Their personal life may not be known much but they will always be remembered for creating a new ping pong, badminton, and tennis game.


Pickleball has become one of the most popular games in America in recent years. Covid has seriously increased the number of players in this game as it can be easily played inside the house.

Currently, there are almost 420 places only in North America to play it. It has been dubbed as the Fastest Growing Sport in America after witnessing an almost 30% increase in 2022.

How many people play pickleball in the USA?

According to estimates, there are almost 36 million active players of Pickleball in the United States of America and this number is constantly increasing.


Many people ask why to play pickleball when there are so many other games to play. The answer is based on your priorities and what you like but I will give some major reasons why people play and love pickleball so much:

  • This modified tennis sport is an ideal game for people of all skill levels.
  • It keeps you engaged in social activities as it cannot be played alone.
  • It is good for your health.


With all this being said, it is now clear that Pickleball will be one of the most popular sports shortly. Picklers are increasing. Investors are investing more and more money into this modified badminton game, and Courts are being built. Without a doubt, this sport will be one of the most popular ones in the coming years and one can make a good career by entering the World of Pickleball.