History of Pickleball

History of Pickleball: Pickleball Origin Timeline 1967 – 2023

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Are you imaginative and curious about the history of Pickleball and got the fastest and sparked growth? Those fond of playing games are aware of pickleball sport as it is considered the best game for the whole family. Pickleball originated in 1965 and gained fame through a short ferry ride away from WA, Seatle. 

On one sunny day in 1965, three fathers in Washington, Bainbridge Island, noticed their children were complaining they were getting bored with nothing to do like thrilling. They all planned to gather the things into their hands and invented an innovative game, a backyard game, and gained a famous game of Pickleball that has grown trend and is played in the US by around 3 million players.

So if you want to learn more about the History of Pickleball, and its origin keep reading the informative pieces.

What Year was Pickleball Invented?

Pickleball was invented in the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA. It was created by three fathers – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum – as a children’s backyard pastime.

How Pickleball Got Its Name?

There are two entirely different stories about pickleball for how this innovative game got its name.

Pickles the Dog

The story goes on to how the pickle used to chase the pickle balls into the bushes and run after them. Because the inventors were unaware that the sport was liked and played during the first summer, it did not receive an official name for many years.

Once many players played the game in the summer, it was evident that there should be an official name; ultimately, the game’s founders decided it should be called Pickleball to tribute to the family dog.

The Pickle Boat

The wife of Joel Pritchard Joan started to name their game pickleball because the combination of various sports and games reminded her of the pickle boat in the crew where other rowers chose from the leftovers of other boats. Peggy, Prichard’s daughter, said the game was not given its name after a dog as they didn’t get the dog for many years after it originated. 

Origin of Pickleball

A representative of the Washington state legislature, Joel Pritchard, accompanied by his neighbors Barney McCallum and William Bell, initially used the assortments of different sports gear to develop this game. With badminton court, Prichard started with the non-pricy paddles and a ball he borrowed from a friend with the initial version of now existing gameplay.

Pickleball originated with the game’s evolution through trials and errors; they altered the game rules and sports equipment and introduced a new pickleball version. Barney realized that the paddles should be durable to find a better and modified solution and took the right decision at the right time. He came into the battlefield with the new shapes of paddles made of plywood which he saw in his basement.

Although the pickleball paddles come with many options and advanced technology made of graphite and composite material, most players like to use the paddles in the same shape and size as the original.

The game’s inventors also planned to reduce the height of the unique badminton net to the waist height, as the specification of the current net should be 36 inches according to the measurement of the official pickleball net.

Evolution of Pickleball

When was pickleball invented?

In 1965 the beginning of Pickleball came humbly because the new and innovative game was played among the few families on Bainbridge Island. With time, the game became famous, and millions of players became addicted to this game in the US. The powerful brands sponsored the game for the pro players and were shown as international tournaments with prize money and rewards.

The game gained its fame and trend internationally with the interest of more and more countries with well-established rules in Spain, India, the UK, and many more countries. However, the game is being played in almost every country globally, from Minnesota to Madrid; in 2017, the first championship of the Spanish Open Pickleball was played

Pickleball History Timeline – High Lights Year by Year


The first permanent court for Pickleball was constructed in the backyard of Joel Prchard’s friend and neighbor.


The corporation for the Pickleball was produced to protect the rights and creation of the innovative Pickleball.


About Pickleball, the article was published by the National Observer, followed by the article of 1976 in the tennis magazine about America’s newest racket sport, Pickleball. 


In 1976 during the summer, the well-known pickleball tournament worldwide was introduced at South Center Athletic Club in Washington Tukwila. The game-winner in Men’s single was David Lester, and Steve Pronto got the second position.
Most of the participants and players were college students and were significantly less aware of the game, as they used to practice with the softball-sized plastic ball and huge paddles made of paddles. 


In 1978, the book named the other racket sport was published and offered the required informational rules about Pickleball.


The inventor of pickleball Sid William started playing and getting the tournaments well organized in Washington.


For the growth and advancement of Pickleball on the national level, the United States Amateur Pickleball Association was introduced in addition to publishing the first book on the game’s rules.


The machine for making the pickleball accessories was introduced in a house with a customized drilling process.


Lieutenant Governor Joel Pritchard from 1988 to 1996, passed away at the age of 72 as he was the pioneer of the game.


The Pickleball website on the internet, named Pickleball Stuff, was introduced and started work in terms of data, information, products, and equipment in 1999.


Through the efforts of Earl Hill, the game was introduced and established in the Arizona Senior Olympics for the first time. The first tournament was played at Happy Trails RV in Surprise, where 100 players participated. It was the largest tournament played in the history of pickleball. Over the next coming years, the number of players increased to 300. 


In North America, there were 39 new places introduced where Pickleball was played, as listed on the game’s official website. The places include 3 Canadian provinces, 10 states of the USA, and 150 individual courts. 
In October, the game was included in the Huntsman World Senior Games for the first time in pickleball held in St George.


A new organization for the game’s growth was developed, commonly known as the USA Pickle Association, USAPA; Mark Friedberg was nominated as the first president of the USAPA organization. Steve Wong was the former USAPA master and made the first website for the growth of Pickleball that went live in March.
Moreover, the website was known for elaborating on the features and growth of the game on the internet, as USAPA was considered the best non-profit organization on July 1


In 2006 one of the game’s well-known innovators and originators, Bill Bell, passed away.


Dennis Duey headed the organization known as the USAPA Rules Committee. He published a book related to the game of pickleball rules, known as the USA Pickleball Association Official Tournament Rule Book.
After this, Pickleball was included in the National Senior Games Association (NSGA). On the USAPA website, 420 new places and states were included on the list in North America. The courts and private rooms in the homes did not cover these places. 

Moreover, the first mass media exposure was to the game by ABC’s Good Morning America, which aired live and demonstrated the game’s basic rules.


In November 2009, the first USAPA tournament was organized as the national tournament for players from beginners to professionals of all ages in Arizona, Buckeye. In this tournament, from 26 states of the USA, 400 players participated and various states of Canada. 
Furthermore, USAPA also arranged grant programs to help the pickleball players to make new websites for new emerging players. The program gained over 1400 sites by the end of 2013.


To promote the game’s growth, USAPA made the International Federation of Pickleball IFP institution and fo; owing to the website on the international level.


In January, Justin Maloof took the oath as an executive director, and USAPA gained members in its organization 4071. USAPA took over the new logo with the red, white, and blue color scheme to rebrand its appearance, considered more consistent and eye-catching than other US national sports governing bodies. 


In 2014 USAPA introduced a more user-friendly website for Pickleball, as it was the first professional media group channel for the sport.


USAPA increased its member committee, and the first ambassador retreat was introduced in Tahoe City. The report reveals to the Sport and Fitness Industry Association that more than 2 million pickleball players


In 2016 USAPA introduced the nationally certified referee certification program for the game’s growth. The first full-color and digital publication with the bright colors of Pickleball magazine was launched in 2016. For the USAPA members, a discount on the mail subscription and a free digital copy was offered.  


The American sports builders Association with the collaboration of USAPA, published a book on pickleball rules. In addition, the pickleball courts introduced the construction and maintenance manual and properly described the detailed data and information for the construction of pickleball courts along with the facilities. 


Across the US, there were 2100 courts known, and the play locations and the total number of courts were 7000. 


The report directed by the Sports Fitness Industry Association shows that Pickleball has gained popularity all over the world to a tremendous extent and is considered to be the fastest-growing game in the US, especially as it is the home of Pickleball due to the reason that the participants of the game were increased to 3.3 million. 


In 2020, USA pickleball was rebranded by USAPA by aligning it with other well-known games and USA Pickleball National Championships. 


The number of members in the USAPA increased to 53000, and 43% increased from the past years. With up to 2300 registered players, the pickleball national championships were considered the most significant tournament and event worldwide.


What are three facts about the History of Pickleball?

The three facts about Pickleball are that three fathers introduced the game in 1965 on Bainbridge Island to entertain their kids. Besides its name, the game has nothing to do with the pickles. It is one of the best games liked and played equally by 53% of males and 47% of females. 

Why was Pickleball initially invented?

The game of Pickleball was invented to use the badminton courts with the hope of playing. However, they could not find enough rackets to enjoy the game, so instead, they used ping pong paddles and a Wiffle ball. With these tips and tricks pieces lying around, an innovative and brand-new game was invented. 

What country started Pickleball?

The game of Pickleball came from the USA. Members of Congress Joel Pritchard, Barney McCallum, and Bill Bell introduced the sport of Pickleball in 1965.

Who serves first in Pickleball?

The basic rule in Pickleball is that the player on the right side of the court will serve first at the start of the game and every time your team receives the ball. The game can also get the illegal serve in a way the players can try to call them on, but both teams need to agree. One team cannot make such calls on their opponent players or defendants.  


So by looking at the incredible evolution and history of pickleball, it is evident that the game has gained popularity and fame over the years and worldwide due to its features and gameplay process. The spread and popularity of the game were dedicated to PE classes, community centers, YMCA facilities, and retired employees and communities. 

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