Get Out and Play - Pickleball

By: Alere Staff

Pickleball is a game that combines several racquet sports and is played with two to four players. Paddles similar to ping pong are used, but played with a wiffle-type ball on a badminton court with a net and rules similar to tennis. Invented in the mid-sixties, Pickleball started as a children’s backyard game.

During the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, three dads, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum, had to improvise for their children’s fun when setting up for a game of badminton and no one could find the shuttlecock.

Paddles were made, the badminton net was lowered and a wiffle ball was used. The game of Pickleball was born. It quickly became popular among adults as fun that was enjoyable for players of all levels.

The court is similar to the size of a doubles badminton court and the net is set at a height similar to that of tennis. The ball is served with an underhand stroke, upward and diagonally into the opponent’s service court. Points are scored by the serving side only when the opposing team either fails to return the ball, hits the ball out of bounds or steps into the non-volley zone in front of the net. The first side to score 11 points and is leading by two points wins.

Players use a pickleball paddle. These paddles are smaller than a tennis racket and bigger than a ping pong paddle. They are made of a solid material. The pickleball itself has holes like a wiffle ball with different models for indoor or outdoor play.

Players can wear anything that is comfortable to play in. Comfortable tennis shoes are a must and, if playing outdoors, attire to protect from the elements is recommended.  Players may want to wear hats, visors, sunglasses or safety glasses.

Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in America, being played in all 50 states. For complete information and locations to play you can contact the USA Pickleball Association at

Interested in finding more ways to be active? Check out these related articles:


  1. USA Pickleball Association –, information obtained June 12, 2015.
  2. Pickleball -, information obtained June12, 2015.