Pickleball: The Fastest-Growing Sport You Need to Try

As you know, tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world, and for sure the most famous racket one. Pickleball, on the other hand, is a sport that is gaining a lot of popularity, especially in the USA. It is also played with the use of a racket, but in pickleball, it is "slightly" different from the one that is used in tennis. In this article, we will talk about pickleball and highlight some similarities and differences with tennis.

Pickleball: The Fastest-Growing Sport You Need to Try

What Is Pickleball And What Is The Story Behind Its Invention?

Pickleball is a racket (paddle) sport that can be played in both singles and doubles. It is a combination of tennis, ping pong, and badminton. Interestingly enough, pickleball is a relatively new sport, played with paddles and a plastic ball with holes on its surface. The sport was invented in 1965 by the Englishman Joel Pritchard and his friends Bill Bell and Barney McCallum. 

It was a summer afternoon in 1965 when the three friends and their families decided to do something different and went to the badminton court, but instead of rackets, they used table tennis paddles and a small ball instead of a shuttlecock. Also, the 1.5m net was lowered to hip level so that the ball drove more easily. 

They found out that this sport did not require special physical preparation and could have been played by people of all ages. Also, we can say that pickleball is a social sport, unlike tennis for example. You are closer to your opponent and partner, which allows for a social environment. 

Rules of Pickleball And On What Ground Is It Played?

As already mentioned, pickleball is practiced on a court very similar to that of badminton. Also, to make it easier to visualize - it looks like a small tennis court, but without the two doubles sidelines. It is divided into two sides by a low net. It has two sidelines, two baselines, a central line on each side, as well as two non-volley lines. This is probably the most important part of the pickleball court because they create two non-volley zones, called "the kitchen".

Unlike the tennis serve, the pickleball serve is performed underhand and it should land diagonally into the opposing team's service court. The service must go beyond the net and not land in the kitchen. Otherwise, it is called "fault".

Another important rule is the so-called "double bounce" rule. Similarly to tennis, you can either let the ball hit the court once and then hit it or volley the ball. But, before that, the ball must bounce once on each side before either team starts volleying the ball in the air.

The last very common, but curios rule is that part of the court, called "the kitchen". Both sides (singles or doubles) are not allowed to volley the ball while standing in the kitchen unless the ball has already bounced off the court.

Pickleball rackets and balls

What Is The Scoring in Pickleball?

If we can note one big difference between tennis and pickleball, it can certainly be found in scoring. To be honest, scoring in pickleball is a bit similar to scoring in ping pong.

Pickleball is played to 11 points win by 2 (like 2/3 games in tennis). The important detail is that only the serving team can win points. To explain it as simply as possible, scoring in pickleball is like the tiebreaks in tennis, but ONLY the serving side can score points!

Now you may be asking yourself "What if the server makes a mistake, what happens?". Well, in that case, the server serves again, but the result remains the same despite the error. However, if the opponent "wins" another point, he gets both the opportunity to serve as well as a point to his name in the scoring.

Interesting Facts About Pickleball

1) As already mentioned, the official inventor of pickleball is Joel Pritchard. Thus, if possible, he can comfortably be called the "father of pickleball". In this line of thought, Pritchard was also the creator of the first pickleball tournament, whose official name was "The World's First Pickleball Championship" – kind of boring name, isn't it?

Anyway, it was held in Washington in 1976 and in July of that year received a mention in "Tennis magazine". This is probably the first moment when pickleball started to gain a lot of popularity and by 1990, this rare sport was being played in all 50 states of the USA.

Pickleball's peak moment came in 2022. The State Senator of Washington John Lovick proposed making pickleball the official sport of the state. Then, this sport received an official recognition.

2) Another interesting fact is that the first pickleball league was created in 2021. It was formed in Texas, and the first year consisted of 8 teams, and in the second with 12. This clearly shows how quickly pickleball is growing. Every team consists of 2 men and 2 women and the winning team is awarded the Pritchard Cup and 25 000 for each member.

3) The league will expand to 16 teams in 2023, with NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes, tennis player Naomi Osaka, and NBA players LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Kevin Love buying expansion teams.

4) One of the craziest pickleball records is the one for the longest rally in the history of this sport. It consists of 16,046 consecutive shots, lasting 6 hours and 11 minutes – something we'll probably never see in tennis.


Pickleball is definitely one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. As of 2022, there were an estimated 4.8 million pickleball players in the United States, a 14.8% increase over the previous year.

Also, honestly, you don't need any special equipment to play it – just two paddles, a small tennis ball and a net. The pickleball court is not very common, especially in Europe, but you can make your own – just grab a pencil/crayon, go to a wide empty place and just draw the outlines.

And the best of all, pickleball is certainly the closest thing to tennis. We all know how we want to look like our idols by playing their sport, but for one reason or another, we can't do it. Well, with pickleball this is quite possible and easily achievable.