The History of Pickleball

by Kristina Tamas on October 09, 2023

In the world of sports, there are always those hidden gems that suddenly burst into the spotlight. Pickleball is one such gem. This engaging paddle sport has a fascinating history, one that traces its roots back to the mid-20th century. In this comprehensive article, we'll delve deep into the history of pickleball, exploring its origins, evolution, and current status in the world of sports.

pickleball paddle and ball

The Birth of Pickleball

The origin of pickleball can be traced back to Bainbridge Island, Washington, in the summer of 1965. Joel Pritchard, a congressman, and Bill Bell, a successful businessman, were attempting to entertain their families one lazy afternoon. Their quest for amusement led them to create a game that would soon become the sensation known as pickleball.


The Mystery of the Name

Pickleball’s unique name has sparked curiosity among many, but few know the intriguing story behind its invention and rise to fame. Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with pickles. Instead, it's believed to have been named after the Pritchard family's dog, Pickles, who had a knack for chasing after stray balls during their games. If this sounds interesting to you, you can read more about Pickles and the story behind the pickleball name.


The Evolution of the Game

As the game gained popularity locally, its rules and equipment evolved. Originally played with wooden paddles and a perforated plastic ball, the game soon transitioned into a more standardized version. The adoption of composite paddles and a wiffle ball significantly improved gameplay.

Pickleball's journey from its humble beginnings to a worldwide phenomenon was swift. The first pickleball court was created on Bainbridge Island, but soon enough, it found its way to the neighboring states and beyond. Players were drawn to the sport's accessibility and the friendly atmosphere it fostered. With years, pickleball embarked on a global journey, captivating players worldwide, not only in the United States. Its appeal transcended generations and cultures, making it a truly universal sport.

pickleball ball in pickleball court

In recent years, the popularity of pickleball has skyrocketed. It's no longer a well-kept secret; it's a thriving sport with a dedicated following. People of all ages are drawn to the simplicity of the game, the sense of community it fosters, and the physical activity it provides.

With the growing number of enthusiasts, it was only a matter of time before competitive tournaments began to emerge. The first official pickleball tournament took place in 1976. Since then, the sport has witnessed a surge in organized competitions, attracting players of all skill levels.



The history of pickleball is a testament to the power of creativity and the love of sports. From its inception on a lazy summer day to its global presence today, pickleball has charmed players and spectators alike. This paddle sport phenomenon continues to grow, promising a bright future for all who take part in its unique and engaging gameplay.

If you want to read more interesting pickleball-related stories check out Born to Rally pickleball blog!