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Man playing Pickleball

28 September . 2018

How to Play Pickleball—Estrella’s Favorite Outdoor Game

Despite its name, there are no pickles involved in pickleball. A hybrid of tennis and badminton, Pickleball was actually named after the inventor’s pup, who loved chasing the ball while everyone played. This oddly titled game has grown in popularity over the years and the residents of Estrella are hooked! On four striped pickleball courts in South Lake Park and six pickleball courts in CantaMia, residents can master their skills and engage in some friendly competition. 

Picking Up Pickleball
Pickleball is traditionally played on a badminton-sized court with a lowered net. The ball used is similar to a wiffle ball, only smaller and with special paddles made from either wood or high-tech aerospace material. The smaller court and equipment make the game suitable for people of all ages and skill levels, while still allowing more competitive players test their techniques.

pickleball equipment

History of Pickleball
The game of Pickleball was created in 1965, on Bainbridge Island – just a short ferry ride from Seattle - and it now boasts more than 2.5 million players in the United States. Pickleball was invented by Congressmen Joel Pritchard, William Bell, and Barney McCallum after they arrived home from a round of golf to find their kids bored and restless. They set out to create a game that would engage the kids through the lazy days of summer.

They handed their kids table tennis paddles and a wiffle ball, lowered the net on their badminton court, and the rest was history. In the coming days, both the kids and adults would fall in love with the activity and the rules would evolve into the game we know today.

The first known pickleball tournament in the world was held in 1976, at Southcenter Athletic Club in Tukwila, Washington. Many of the participants knew very little about pickleball and practiced with large wooden paddles, and a softball-sized wiffle ball.

In 1984, the United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA) was organized to spread the growth and advancement of pickleball on a national level. The first rule book was published in March 1984, and the first paddle was produced the same year. By 1990, pickleball was being played in all 50 states.

Since then, pickleball has exploded in popularity. There are now over 4,000 sites on the USAPA’s places to play map, and the sport continues to grow internationally. New play sites are being added every year, and governing bodies have been created in Canada and India. And it is quickly becoming one of Estrella’s most popular activities!

How to Play Pickleball
The rules of pickleball are relatively simple and easy to pick up in a short amount of time.

The game starts by the ball being served with an underhand stroke so that contact with the ball is made below waist level. Unlike the similar sport of tennis, there are no overhand strokes. The server hits from behind the baseline on one side of the center line and aims diagonally to the opponent’s service zone. Only the serving side can score a point and the play ends when one side commits a fault. Faults include:

  • Hitting the serve outside of the opponent’s diagonal service zone
  • Not hitting the ball over the net
  • Hitting the ball or not hitting after the 2nd bounce on one side of the net
  • Hitting the ball out of bounds
  • Volleying the ball on the service return
  • Volleying the ball on the first return by the serving side
  • Stepping into the non-volley zone (the first seven feet from the net, also known as the ‘kitchen’) in the act of volleying the ball

Having a non-volley zone eliminates opportunities for smash volleys or drop shots, which force the player to be cautious and strategic in the placement of shots.

Each side only gets one fault before they are considered “out”, which means they lose their turn and the opponent then serves. The first side scoring 11 points while also leading by at least two points wins the game.

Thanks to PlayPickleball.com for use of their video. Visit their how to play pickleball page for more instructions.

Pickleball Is Great Exercise
The benefits of exercise are well documented. Whether it’s for young children, adults, or retirees there are many good reasons to be active, including:

  • Increased happiness
  • Potential weight loss
  • Strengthening muscles and bones
  • Increased energy levels
  • Reduced risk of chronic disease
  • Improved skin health
  • Improved brain health and memory

Pickleball is fast-paced and low impact, but the health benefits are easy to see. While not as cardio intensive as tennis, pickleball will get your blood pumping, and this is reason enough to start playing. The fresh air, activity, and fun is excellent for reducing stress, and increasing mental acuity. For increased cardio effects, try your hand at a singles match, which will be sure to get your heart rate up!

Warning: Pickleball is highly addictive! Click for tips and tricks on how to maximize your pickleball game!