A Beginner’s Guide to Pickleball

If you’re looking to shed a few pounds or just get in better shape, you may think you have to commit to boring treadmill workouts or take the dog for longer walks. What if, instead, you took up the fastest growing sport in the United States: Pickleball. Whether you’ve never heard of Pickleball or just wondered what all the fuss was about, we’re here with your beginner’s guide to Pickleball, so that you can join in on the fun and excitement.


The History of Pickleball

If you’ve only recently heard about Pickleball, that’s because it is a relatively new sport. Pickleball was invented in 1965 by three fathers looking to help their kids burn off some energy. The gave the children ping pong paddles and sent them out to a badminton net. When the kids talked about how much fun they had, the dads started working on additional refinements, including lowering the net to ground level, using a wiffle-type ball, making larger paddles with a band saw, and formulating rules. Thus Pickleball was born.


Where did it get that name?

You may have speculated on the origin of the name Pickleball. There are a number of conflicting stories, including the official word that one of the inventors of the game had a dog named Pickle who loved to run onto the court during games and run away with the ball, prompting the family to call the game Pickleball.


In fact, however, the wife of one of Pickleball’s inventors claims that she named the game two years before Pickle the dog came on the scene, so the dog was named after the game, not the other way around. In her version of events, Pickleball was named after “the pickle boat,” the slowest vessel in a rowing race, because of the slower pace of the game.


Growth of Pickleball

Pickleball has become popular all over the country for a variety of reasons. Unlike tennis or golf, Pickleball can be picked up quickly so that even a beginner can have a fun and satisfying game. Because the court is small, you can socialize with your fellow players fairly easily. In addition, the smaller court means that older players who used to play tennis but who now have knee, shoulder, or hip problems can stay active while putting less stress on their joints.


Getting Started Playing Pickleball

What You Need to Play Pickleball

All you’ll need to get started is a paddle, pickleball, clothes that are easy to move in, comfortable shoes, and a place to play. You’ll find both indoor and outdoor Pickleball courts, so you can enjoy a game any time of year, no matter the weather.


How to Reserve a Pickleball Court

When you arrive, find out how players are choosing courts. In some places, players put their paddles in a bucket to reserve a court. Some courts have sign-up sheets where players can schedule a game. Check with your court to find out how to reserve a court or when they hold open play times.


Pickleball Etiquette

Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles matches, with doubles being the most common. Because it is a social game, be sure to greet the other players at the beginning of the game, introducing yourself if it is open play and you don’t know the others. Compliment fellow players on good shots and give them a “Good game” at the end.


Everyone operates on the honor system in a Pickleball game, so everyone acts as their own referee. Be honest with your calls and respectful of the calls by your opponents. Before playing Pickleball, familiarize yourself with the rules of the game in order to ensure that you are prepared.


Make Your Pickleball Games More Social

Pickleball is already a social game, but you can make it even more fun when you amp up the social aspect.

  • Consider planning a potluck brunch or lunch before or after your Pickleball game.

  • Take turns bringing snacks and drinks to share with your fellow players.

  • Plan a multi-generational Pickleball tournament and get the kids and grandkids in on the action.

  • Check for Pickleball courts when you travel for vacation or over the holidays to stay active and meet new players.

  • Consider entering a Pickleball tournament and take your game to the next competitive level.

There’s a reason Pickleball has been called “highly contagious.” Adding an additional social component to your active lifestyle is good for your health, both physically and emotionally. In fact, the community aspect and physical activity of Pickleball makes it a perfect lifestyle addition for anyone look to live the Blue Zone Lifestyle.



Interested in learning more about Pickleball or other activities at your Del Webb community? Check with your Lifestyle Director to keep up with all of the fun events and activities happening both inside and outside your neighborhood.



Contributed to The 55+ Society by Christy Murdock Edgar

Looking for more Society tips and learnings? Return Home here.

Published 7.11.19

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