Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. Chances are you’ve seen the courts popping up at local parks, campgrounds, or community centers. (It’s the sport that looks a little like ping-pong and a little like tennis.) But what exactly is pickleball and how do you play? Consider this your pickleball primer.
Pickleball was invented on a rainy summer day in 1965. “It was strictly an accident,” says Barney McCallum, one of the game’s inventors. A few families had gathered for a picnic at a cabin on Bainbridge Island and the pent-up kids were driving their parents a little crazy. Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell handed the kids a set of ping-pong paddles along with a ball and suggested they play on the badminton court outside.
A long time later, the kids hadn’t come back. When the adults went to check on them, the kids were still playing happily on the badminton court. For the parents, that set some ideas in motion. McCallum went home that night and built new paddles that were slightly bigger and heavier than ping-pong paddles. When the group went back to play the next day, they lowered he badminton net and created the initial rules for the game. It was an instant neighborhood hit.
After that, the game quickly spread by word-of-mouth and by 1976, it gained national attention when Tennis magazine pronounced it “America’s newest racquet sport.” Almost a decade later, the sport had its own governing body for the first time—the USA Pickleball Association. Today, it’s estimated that more than 400,000 people play the sport at schools, community centers, parks, and senior centers around the country. Want to be one of them? Read on!
Pickleball was inspired by other racquet-based games (tennis, table tennis, and badminton). For a detailed guide to the rules, head here. Otherwise, here’s a quick rundown:
- Pickleball is played on a hard court that has the same dimensions as a badminton court. (That’s 20′ by 44.’) You can set up a pickleball court on a tennis court using a temporary net (Two pickleball courts fit inside one tennis court) or you can find a place near you with designated courts. Here’s an easy way to search.
- Pickleball can be played as singles but doubles is more common. The rules and playing area are the same no matter what.
- Each player needs a pickleball paddle, which is larger than a ping-pong paddle but smaller than a tennis racquet. You’ll also need a ball. (More on gear below!)
- Like tennis, pickleball begins with a diagonal serve, but unlike tennis, the serve must be underhand. The serve must also bounce on each side of the net before the ball is considered in play. (This is called the “no volley” rule.)
- Teams can only score points when they have the serve. The first team to 11 wins.
When choosing the best pickleball paddles, the three most important factors to consider are weight, grip, and shape.
- Weight: Paddle weights range from 6-14 ounces. The right weight for you is a matter of personal preference but consider that lighter weight paddles offer more control and are easier on the wrist and elbow, while heavier weight paddles offer more power and allow for deeper shots.
- Grip: Ideal grip size is usually related to height. Pickleball Central has a helpful guide for figuring out the right grip for you.
- Shape: These days there are two pickleball paddle shapes: wide-body (classic) or elongated paddles. The latter is a newer design and is usually for more experienced players.
This set from Amazin’ Aces gives you and a partner everything you need for your first game (except for an opponent): two graphite/polymer paddles, four balls, and a carrying cases.
- Unbeatable value - Our Classic set includes two premium carbon fiber graphite pickleball paddles, four pickleballs, and one mesh bag for convenient carry and storage of your pickleballs. It’s everything you need to hit the court! Get started playing the amazing sport of pickleball today with industry-leading gear.
- Superior quality & performance - We've worked long & hard to develop a high performing pickleball paddle. Our Classic paddles combine cutting-edge technology, premium-grade materials, and expert craftsmanship. The end result is an amazing racket that is excellent for everyone from beginner to pro. We've even gone the extra mile with our packaging; your order will arrive in a high-quality box that makes it easily giftable and also works well for storing the set.
- Premium specifications for power and control - Our paddle has great specs! The Classic paddle features a polymer core paired with a carbon fiber graphite face. The Classic paddle weighs between 8.8 oz and 9.2 oz & expertly blends power with control. It has a large sweet-spot, optimized weight distribution, & classic shape. Our hand-stitched contour grip is second to none. Superior materials make the Classic an absolute joy to play.
- Join millions of happy pickleballers - Millions have discovered the sport of pickleball over the last few years. Pickleball is a social sport that appeals to everyone. Hit the court with our Classic pickleball paddle set, get some fun exercise, and make new friends.
- 1-year warranty - Choosing a pickleball set can be overwhelming! We back up our pickleball set with a 1-year warranty. Have an issue with one of our paddles? We want to get it fixed pronto! Contact us and we'll replace it with no questions asked.
This pair of graphite paddles come with soft-grip handles are all lightweight for easy handling.
- USAPA Approve for Victory; Niupipo pickleball set has passed USAPA testing and is approved for sanctioned tournament play; When you choose the niupipo pickleball paddles, you receive exclusive passion for your Champion; Niupipo pickleball paddle can withstand any challenges on the court; Having a high-quality graphite pickleball paddle can completely transform your game
- Improved Strength by The Honeycomb Core; The interior of our USAPA Pro pickleball set is constructed by polymer honeycomb and sandwiched between two sheets of durable carbon fiber; USAPA Pro pickleball paddle set offers great energy to spin the balls; The graphite pickleball paddle is made of exceptionally durable material that allows it to withstand a strike from balls; This USAPA Pro pickleball racket set will help you win any challenge
- Ideal Balance with Graphite Carbon Fiber; Niupipo pickleball paddle set of 2 is made of graphite carbon fiber face and graphite-honeycomb composition for an ideal level of strength and stiffness with a surprisingly lightweight; The USAPA Pro pickleball paddles is a great combination for added control and power hitting; Your shots will be more accurate and have much more control over how much force you put into the pickleball
- Premium Grip, Perfect Handle Size; Niupipo pickleball paddle is comfortable to handle and works well while in gameplay; USAPA Pro pickleball set is perforated, sweat absorbent, and cushioned, to allow for a better paddle grip, for longtime play without fatigue; Widebody pickleball paddles shape with 4-4/5” (4.8) grip length and 4-1/2'' (4.5) grip circumference; Paddle Face Dimensions: 10.63" L x 7.87" W x 0.59" H Lightweight pickleball paddle 8oz
- Comes with 2 covers; Every Niupipo USAPA Pro pickleball set is designed to be an awesome pickleball paddle for either a beginner or a professional player; The pickleball set contains 2 covers
Though many paddles today are made from graphite or composites, the first pickleball paddles were made from wood like these. This 4-paddle set (ball included) is great for beginners from kids to seniors.
- CONTENTS - 4 Rally Meister durable wood pickleball paddles + 6 Indoor Jugs Pickleballs - green color (great for beginners indoors or outdoors)
- QUALITY CONSTRUCTION - Durable 7-ply alternating grain wood pickleball paddles - lightweight and strong with safety wrist straps and high quality grip
- PERFORMANCE - Lightweight compared to other clunky wood paddles (9.5-10.5 oz), large sweet spot, performance cushion/comfort grip, quick response
- GREAT FOR BEGINNERS & FAMILIES- Get started with high quality paddles from a trusted brand at a great price. Commonly used in schools, recreation/senior centers and YMCAs
- MEETS USAPA SPECIFICATIONS
This single paddle is made of graphite and comes with a sweat-resistant grip and neoprene carrying case.
This elongated paddle is for more experienced players. Its provides players with extra reach and greater precision in angled shots.
- Morgan Evans: the Maxima polymer composite paddle is co-designed with Morgan Evans and averages 7.6oz
- Extra Reach: with the Maxima's extra reach, you can be sure to get those balls normally just out of reach with a normal paddle. It also allows you to take advantage of angled shots.
- Focused Sweet Spot: the Maxima’s unique rounded shape creates a focused sweet spot for those who want a consistent sweetspot, but have a precise swing.
- Long Handle: one of Morgan’s signature shot is his double backhand. The Maxima’s extra long handle allows Morgan to execute his signature backhand. If you are a Tennis player who gets annoyed at a traditional Pickleball paddle’s short grip, the Maxima is the paddle you’ve been looking for.
- Limited Lifetime Warranty: as with all of Selkirk’s premium paddles, the Maxima comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Selkirk Sport can offer this industry disruptive warranty because all of our paddles are manufactured in the USA using the best materials and processes.
Looking for more outdoor fun? Check out our guide to 5 Fun Outdoor Games For Camping