Pickleball has become one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States.
Why may that be? Well, for starters, it is inclusive for people of all ages and levels to play and does not require too much equipment.
While it’s more popular in the U.S., the game is spreading to other countries and even attracting some of the biggest names in sports.
With the launch of Major League Pickleball in 2021, several iconic athletes like Lebron James and Drew Brees have bought in on the action, investing in ownership stakes in expansion teams under the league.
But what exactly is pickleball, how do you play it and where does the name come from?
What is pickleball?
Pickleball is often explained as a hybrid of tennis, badminton and ping pong.
It is played on a badminton-sized court with a net, but involves less running than tennis. The sport, which can be enjoyed as doubles (two players per team) or singles, is played with a hard paddle and perforated plastic balls.
The sport was originally invented in 1965 former Washington State Rep. Joel Pritchard and businessman Bill Bell wanted their families to make use of Pritchard’s badminton court but could not find any badminton equipment. They improvised using some ping-pong paddles, a wiffleball and a modified court. Later, they introduced friend Barney McCallum to their activity, and the three men created rules for the new sport. It took off during the pandemic, when it provided cooped-up quarantiners a chance to get outside with minimal equipment.
For three straight years, pickleball has ranked as the nation’s fast-growing sport, with the number of players nearly doubling in 2022 to reach 8.9 million overall, according to USA Pickleball.
How do you play pickleball?
Whether you play singles or doubles, a 44-foot long (inclusive of lines) and 20-foot wide (inclusive of lines) court is used.
The game — and each point — begins with a serve by the player on the right side of the court and the ball must travel crosscourt and land within the lines of the opposite square, similar to tennis. If the ball hits into the net, goes out of bounds or lands in “The Kitchen,” which is the first few feet from the net, the serve is a fault.
The ball must bounce on either side of the net one time before players can volley. From there, you can hit the ball after it bounces or in the air, but only in the service area. “The Kitchen” is also a non-volley zone. That’s because standing next to the net makes volleying too easy, giving players an unfair advantage. Player can hit balls if they bounce off the court in the non-volley zone.
You lose the point if there is a double bounce, you hit the ball out of bounds or if someone hits the net. For a full list of officials rules, click here.
Pickleball is one of America’s fastest growing sports, which means it also comes with its fair share of injuries.
How does pickleball scoring work?
Points can only be earned by the serving team.
The first number in a score is the serving team’s score, while the second number is the receiving team’s score. The last number is only prevalent in doublespPickleball and represents the current server (will be 1 or 2), ex: 8-4-1
Pickleball games are played to 11 points and must win by two points.
What is Major League Pickleball?
Major League Pickleball (MLP) is an elite pickleball league that consists of the sports greatest talent.
There are currently 12 teams in the league with each squad consisting of two men and two women. The tournament format consists of a women’s doubles match then men’s doubles, and the final two games are mixed-doubles matches. This year’s MLP events calendar features six events across Arizona, California, Florida and Georgia.
Who are some notable team owners of Major League Pickleball?
There is a solid list of team owners and partners associated with Major League Pickleball.
Some of these iconic names include NBA stars LeBron James, Draymond Green, Kevin Love and NFL champ Drew Brees. Other notable names include former men’s No. 1 tennis player James Blake and co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks Marc Lasry among others.
Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and former No. 1 women’s tennis player Kim Clijsters announced on Wednesday that they will partake in a 2023 MLP expansion team that will see 12 teams in the league grow to 16.
Former world tennis No. 1 Andy Roddick is taking his talents from the tennis court to the pickleball court in an exhibition with other tennis legends.
Where did the name Pickleball originate?
There is a reason this fast-growing sport is named after a pickled cucumber.
One of the creators of the sport, former Washington State Rep. Joel Pritchard and his wife Joan, said “the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.”
According to family friend Barney McCallum, Pritchard’s dog was named Pickles and that’s where the name actually originated.
Who knows, maybe the combination of reasons made for the best name fit.
Soruce : https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/sports/what-is-pickleball-everything-to-know-about-the-sport/3202357/