Thornbury Leisure Centre, Alveston Hill, Thornbury, UK BS35 3JB
The Game of Pickleball
Pickleball was created in 1965 at Bainbridge Island (near Seattle, USA). There are conflicting stories about how it got it’s name, but according to Barney McCallum - one of the original inventors of the game, their dog used to steal the ball whilst they were playing their new game, and as the dog was called Pickles, - so Pickleball was born.
The Pickleball court is essentially the same as a badminton court, but with a net height of 36” - similar to tennis. It is played with paddles, that have a short handle with a flat surface and the ball is plastic and is similar is size to a tennis ball - however the bounce is quite different!
Pickleball is in some ways a mix of badminton, tennis and other racquet sports. However, the rules of the game prevent a dominating power serve like in tennis because the serve has to be under arm. Also, volleying close to the net is not possible because there is a seven feet “non volley zone” (also known as the ‘kitchen’) in front of the net. The serve is more like a badminton serve but other strokes are more like tennis and even table tennis.
This means that the game is generally more even, and long rallies are common. Once you start to play you will learn how to ‘dink’ which is a specific pickleball term but are soft shots that land within the kitchen.
Players who have played other racquet sports bring their previous experience re hand eye coordination, for example, with them but also need to adjust to the idiosyncrasies of pickleball such as the fact that the ball doesn't bounce in the same way as a tennis ball or squash ball.
These features of the rules makes pickleball a fun yet competitive game that can become really addictive to play for all ages. Indeed, Pickleball is typically played as mixed doubles and is particularly popular in the States with an average older age group than tennis.
A complete set of Pickleball rules can be found on Pickleball England’s web site HERE