Pickleball Timeline History
1965 – Origin
When did pickleball start? Almost 57 years ago or 1965 to be exact. The origin of pickleball started as a game that was accidentally discovered and attracted many parties.
A former congressman named Joel Pritchard and a businessman named Bill Bell is on summer vacation at a former house on Bainbridge Island, Washington state, USA. Pritchard’s children felt bored and wanted to play badminton. However, due to the coincidence that the equipment was inadequate, the two fathers improvised a new game.
Because they couldn’t find a badminton racket, the two of them used paddle ping pong instead. Instead of a shuttlecock, they use a plastic ball that their dog Pickles plays with. This is where the naming of pickleball as a sport began. Initially, they played with a badminton court and nets that were already available.
However, it didn’t stop there, they also liked their improvisational sports. They are trying to reduce the height of the netting from 60 inches to 36 inches. A few days later, the two of them got together to make pickleball origin rules and invited their other friend to help them, Barney McCallum.
1967 – First Pickleball Field
2 years after it was founded, the three of them then built an official field (not a badminton court or other former court) with the size they had set. This course was built behind Pitchard’s house in Magnolia Bluff, Seattle.
1972 – Formation of Official Organization
They then formed an official body to overshadow Pickleball named Pickleball Inc. The formation of this association aims to allow pickleball to be registered as an official sport and obtain a copyright. In addition, this aims to lay the foundation so that this game remains sustainable and does not just disappear after the founders are gone.
1975-1976 Pickleball game Appears in Public
Pickleball then came under the scrutiny of the National Observer. In 1975 pickleball was published in an article and received attention from the public. They were attracted because pickleball is a unique combination of tennis and badminton.
1976 – First Pickleball Sport Tournament
Little popular, then the founders held a modest tournament at the South Center Athletic Club. Most of the participants are tennis players who don’t understand pickleball rules and are still learning.
1984 – Paddles with Special Materials
In 1984, Boeing aircraft industrial engineer Arlen Paranto made the first composite paddle made of fiberglass. the innovation of making pickleball tools indicates that the industry in pickleball sports has grown rapidly and is commercially profitable.
Still, in 1984, the American pickleball association, USA Pickleball Association was formed, an official book with written rules was published and Sid Williams became the first USA Pickleball Association chairman.
1990 – Increasing Popularity
Pickleball is widely recognized and is being played all over the state. People are starting to get curious and looking for information about this sport and where they can get equipment to play pickleball.
This was the impact of the formation of an official organization and the opening of tournaments, although not big, but sparked people’s curiosity.
1997 – One of the Main Founders of Pickleball Dies
The world of pickleball is in mourning after it’s the person who started pickleball first, Joel Pritchard, died of blood cancer. He died on October 9, 1997, at the age of 72 years.
2001 – The First Biggest Pickleball Tournament
The Arizona Senior Olympics became the first venue for national pickleball tournaments with hundreds of participants. This event was held thanks to one of the USAPA administrators, Earl Hill.
2005 – USAPA transformation
In 2005 USAPA transformed into a non-profit organization. USAPA is the official pickleball central organization and contains all of the pickleball information resources in the United States.
2008 – USAPA Official Tournament Rulebook published
After receiving great enthusiasm from the public and holding events with many participants, the official pickleball regulator published an official guidebook that regulates all pickleball resources both the rules and requirements and also their tournament system. Exposure to this regulation was also broadcast on local and national TV.
2010 – Pickleball Goes International
After pickleball reaped success in America and spread to all states, there was an idea from USAPA to create an international organization that regulates and monitors the development of pickleball around the world. Therefore they work together to create the IFP or International Federation Of Pickleball.
2015 – Pickleball’s 50th Birthday
Having reached the age of 50 since its invention, pickleball has become one of the sports with a growing fan and player base, especially in the United States. Nearly 13,000 fields and 2 million players have helped develop pickleball. Professional players also appeared. Pickleball is not only a regular sport but is also used as a livelihood.
2019 – Barney McCallum Passed Away
One of the 3 main founders of pickleball, Barney McCallum died in Seattle, Washington at the age of 93. This is a big loss for the pickleball world.
How is the current development of Pickleball?
Currently, pickleball has 4 million players throughout America with tens of thousands of official pickleball courts both indoor and outdoor. We believe this number will continue to rise due to the significant development of pickleball in general.
Professional pickleball players who have achieved many achievements have become stars and have many fans on their social media accounts. One such star is Steve Wong, a renowned player and ambassador for the sport. This means that the income of pickleball players has also continued to increase along with their popularity. Are you interested in trying to become a pickleball star?
How did Pickleball Get Its Name?
In 1965, two dads named Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell arrived at Pritchard’s home in Washington. They decided to play at a badminton court but they didn’t have enough rackets. So, they used spare ping pong paddles and a Wiffle ball. With these bits and pieces lying around, a brand-new game was born.
Some say the name ‘pickleball’ was coined after Pritchard’s dog ‘pickles’ since he loved chasing the ball while they played.
Other sources say the name is a reference to boat racing, where a mismatched crew from other teams form a ‘pickle boat’. This can be credited to Joel Prichard’s wife, Joan, who came up with this analogy.
However, years later in an interview, Joel confessed the dog story was a rumor made up to put the game in an interesting light. The dog, pickles, came years after the game and was named after it, instead of the other way around!
The founders decided the real story with Joan’s analogy was quite a mouthful. Besides, who doesn’t love a cute little pet story associated with their favorite game?
Point Of The Timeline
Pickleball has been growing for decades. Starting from a game that was discovered by accident, this game has become a competitive sport with a promising chance of popularity and income. There is still plenty of time to write a new history for pickleball. But we hope that you will understand more about the game we love.
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