Why It Is Called Pickleball?

by Kristina Tamas on May 15, 2023

How did Pickleball get its name?

Pickleball is a unique and exciting sport that has been gaining popularity in recent years. But have you ever wondered why it's called pickleball? The origin of the name hides an interesting story that dates back to the early days of the sport. I promise the history of pickleball and the story of how did pickleball get its name is more interesting than you think.

Pickleball Player Holding Paddle and Ball

Dog story

In the mid-1960s, a man named Joel Pritchard and his friend Bill Bell were looking for a new game to play with their families. They had some old badminton equipment lying around, so they started experimenting with different game ideas on an old badminton court. One day, they lowered the net and started playing a game with a plastic ball that resembled a whiffle ball. They used some table tennis paddles that they had made themselves, and the game was born.

As they played, Joel Pritchard's family dog named Pickles ran around the court and chased after the ball. Dog Pickles loved to retrieve the ball and even often stole it during the game. The family loved to watch the dog chase after the ball and would often shout, "Pickles, drop that ball!" So those endless shouts "Pickle ball, Pickle ball, Pickle ball..." eventually became the name of the game, and pickleball was born!

The game quickly gained popularity, and Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell started sharing it with friends and neighbors. From there, the game spread throughout the country and eventually around the world.

So, there you have it - Pickleball got its name from a black and white terrier named Pickles. I bet you didn't expect that the big pickleball secret is just a funny story. But this Joel's cute dog story adds to the charm of this already unique sport.

Pickle boat story

Even though this dog story about how one family dog Pickles "invented" the new sport, is adorable, there is also the other version. The "Pickle boat" story is related to Joan, wife of Joel Pritchard. While they play pickleball on their badminton court, she said that the combination of different sports reminded her of the pickle boat in a crew, where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats. So she suggested that they can name their new game "pickle ball".


Pickleball Players During the Game

Pickleball tournaments and USA pickleball association

In the years that followed, pickleball became more and more popular, with people all over the country starting to play the game. By 1967, the first permanent pickleball court was constructed in the backyard of Bob O'Brian, friend and neighbor of Joel Pritchard. The first formal pickleball tournament was held in 1976 at South Center Athletic Club in Washington. In 1984, the USA Pickleball Association was founded, and they began organizing tournaments and events to help promote the sport. Today, there are over 15,000 places to play pickleball across the United States alone.

The first USAPA National Tournament was held in 2009, and it was a huge success. Since then, the tournament has grown in popularity, with more and more players from all over the world coming to compete.

Pickleball is a great alternative to other racket sports, such as tennis or badminton. The game is played on a smaller court with a lower net, which makes it easier for beginners to get started. There are also specific rules about the proper service court, which helps to keep the game fair and competitive. One of the unique things about pickleball is that only the serving team can score points. This makes for some exciting and intense rallies, as each team tries to gain the advantage and score a point. Pickleball is a game that can be played by people of all ages and skill levels, and it's a great way to get some exercise and have fun.


Grab the paddle and join us on the court

The big secret of why the game is called pickleball is revealed! As you can see, the history of pickleball is a fascinating journey that highlights the evolution of a game loved by millions around the world. If you haven't tried it yet, we encourage you to grab a paddle and join in the fun. And when you're ready to play like a pro or show off your love for pickleball, check out our e-store at We offer a variety of unique and stylish pickleball jewelry and accessories that make the perfect gift for any pickleball enthusiast.

Happy playing!