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 Carbon Fiber set includes 2 premium carbon fiber pickleball paddles, 4 pickleballs and 1 carry bag. All the gear you need in one purchase to get the fun started on the court!
- Superior Quality and Performance. Combining cutting-edge technology, premium-grade materials and expert craftsmanship, we pooled our years of experience to develop a high performing pickleball paddle.
- Balances Power and Control. Weighing 7.4 oz., our premium paddle features a polymer core in a carbon fiber graphite to create a large sweet-spot and enhance power and ball control.
- Bring On Your A-game! Get the edge of our Carbon Fiber paddles that levels up the fun in friendly matches. Feel the balance of ability and power in every shot and swing.
- 1-year warranty. We know choosing your gear is important to you, so we offer a 1-year warranty. If you have issues with our paddles, let us know and we’ll get them fixed or replaced without delay.
This pair of graphite paddles come with soft-grip handles are all lightweight for easy handling.
- USAPA Approve for Victory; The niupipo pickleball paddles use the latest technology to improve the quality, so it has passed the USAPA approval and allowed it to be used in the tournament; The niupipo pickleball paddles will provide additional support for your game and help you deal with the challenges of various opponents on the court; You will feel a completely different feeling brought by the pickleball paddles
- The Perfect Combination of the Graphite Honeycomb Core and Graphite Carbon Fiber Surface; While the graphite honeycomb core increases the strength, it also greatly reduces the weight, so the weight of the carbon fiber pickleball paddle is only 8oz; The durable graphite carbon fiber surface provides great energy to spin the ball, and it can easily withstand the impact of the ball; Light and strong, carbon fiber pickleball paddles achieve both
- Cozy and Controllable; Paddle face dimensions: 10.75" L x 7.85" W x 0.54" H Lightweight pickleball paddle; This product data shows that the pickleball paddles set of 2 will not cause too much burden on the wrist and shoulder, making it possible to play longer on the court, and because the carbon fiber pickleball paddle has a large enough perfect ball control area, it always allows you to control the direction of the ball as you like
- Every Part of the Pickleball Paddle is Well-designed; The handle of this pickleball paddles has reached the ultimate perfection after design, which can provide a comfortable grip and precise maneuverability during the game; And the pickleball racquet’s grip is perforated, sweat-absorbent, and cushioned, allowing you to play for a long time; At the same time, the edge guard prevents the pickleball racquet from being broken, can accompany for a longer period of time, and always performs well
- Applicable to a wide range of people; Every niupipo USAPA Pro pickleball paddle set of 2 is designed to be an awesome pickleball paddle for either a beginner or a professional player; So even as your technology advances, the niupipo pickleball paddles can always accompany you; Also, the niupipo carbon fiber pickleball paddles contain two covers, can perfectly extend the life of your pickleball paddles
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) + 'The Art of Pickleball' - Strategy and Technique EBook Download
- 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
- AUTHENTICALLY ORIGINAL AND MAKES A GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT – 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed, 1 year Warranty, Contact us with any issues, we care about our customers! Meets USAPA Specifications. Made by the world’s largest company devoted to Pickleball. Over 200,000 players worldwide rely on PickleballCentral!
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.
Looking for more outdoor fun? Check out our guide to 5 Fun Outdoor Games For Camping