Last month, my hubby and I decided to forego the traditional dinner date night for a morning date. We went to a coffee shop and to play pickleball. He had fun teaching me how to play, and we laughed, sweat, and enjoyed the quality time spent together doing something different.
Pickleball is so trendy right now and is gaining popularity and it got me thinking about why. Because I’m constantly curious, I also wanted to learn about how the game started and why it is called pickleball.
Pickleball was invented by three dads in 1965 in Bainbridge Island, Washington. They came back from a round of golf to find their kids bored. There was a badminton net, but the racquets were broken. They improvised by playing with ping pong paddles and a perforated plastic ball. The plastic ball bounced so well on the asphalt, so they lowered the net and created rules. The game of pickleball was born. It got its name from the thrown-together leftover non-starters of the pickle boat crew races since the game was created from thrown-together leftover pieces of other games.
From 1965-2022, the game has grown in popularity and is now all the rage. Here is why pickleball is worth the hype.
Anyone Can Play
Pickleball is easy to learn and relatively easy to play because the wide paddle makes it easy to hit the large plastic perforated ball. The rules are easy to learn. My four year old loves to hit the ball with the paddle after his daddy “pitches” it to him. The court is smaller than a traditional tennis court, so there is less running and jumping making it easy on the joints. People of all ages play, from elementary age to senior citizens. It’s fun! But, it can quickly become a fast paced competitive game once you gain experience. You can play one on one or with a partner for doubles.
The Gear is Cheap
Most places offering pickleball offer paddles for rent for a relatively inexpensive price of $5-$15. If you want to purchase your own paddle, they are as cheap as $12 from Academy Sports or Amazon but can be as expensive as $180 if you want to be serious. A set of plastic pickleballs is only $10. You already own tennis shoes and athletic clothes, and that is all you need to play.
The Court is Free/Inexpensive
There are so many gyms adding pickleball courts. While they typically require a membership to use the facilities, many gyms offer a free night for pickleball where membership is not required or allow you to rent a court to play for a relatively inexpensive price like $3-7. For example, Bocage Racquet Club has 6 pickleball courts that are free if you set the net up yourself from the pro shop. BREC has a list of outdoor parks with pickleball offerings that are either free or $2, https://www.brec.org/index.cfm/page/pickleball. Indoor gymnasiums through BREC have pickleball courts offered for $7 a month or $70 a year.
Next time your kids or spouse complains they are “bored,” take them to play this fun sport. Loser does the dishes!