Pickleball is a racket sport that is derived from the combination of the fundamental elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. The game is usually played by two or four people with the help of strong wooden paddles with 26 - 40 holes. The game also involves a net and the layout of a badminton court. However, the height of the net and rules of the game are very similar to that of tennis, but with certain modifications.
History of Pickleball
Pickleball was first played in 1965 in Bainbridge Island, Washington. The game was accidentally invented by Joel Pritchard and his two friends when they found themselves bored on a Saturday after a golf game. They first decided to play badminton, but were short of a shuttlecock; so they improvised and lowered the badminton net, carved small wooden racquets, and started a random game with a plastic ball.
Barney McCallum, one of Joel’s two friends, made the first wooden paddles for the game in his basement workshop. In 1972, McCallum started the company Pickle-ball Inc. as a wooden paddles manufacturer to make the game more popular and help grow the sport.
However, there has been a lot of speculation as to the origin of the name of the sport. Some claim that the name “Pickleball” was picked at random, only because the Pritchard’s family dog was named Pickles. However, Joan Pritchard, Joel Pritchard’s wife, said that the name Pickleball was chosen from the Pickle Boat, where the crew of the boat were chosen from other leftover boats to fill in the requirements.
Pickleball does not need a lot of accessories and equipment. Just like any other racquet sport, it needs a court, net, paddles and a ball. The fundamental dimensions of the court have to be 20 ft. wide and 40 ft. long. The net stands 34 inches tall in the center, dividing the court into 2 halves, much like a derivative of the nets from badminton and tennis.
The Pickleball paddle is a small racquet with at least 26 holes in them. The paddles are relatively smaller than a tennis racquet but are larger than a ping pong paddle. A pickleball paddle was initially made from wood and is 8-15 inches in length. However, paddles today are made from lightweight synthetic composite materials.
Pickleballs are very similar to wiffle balls but have holes all over. A pickleball weighs around 22 - 26 grams. These balls are much more durable than a wiffle ball and are about the same size as a slightly smaller cricket ball between 2.784 and 2.972 inches. Since pickleball can be played both indoors and outdoors, the ball is generally made up of plastic, while sometimes it might vary depending on where you choose to play. The traditional balls were usually white or yellow colour, but have expanded their spectrum on the color scale ever since.
Pickleball vs. Tennis
Pickleball and tennis have a lot in common. Just like tennis, pickleball can also be played in singles and doubles both. Even the scoring system in both games are the same; the serving side will earn a point if the opposite side fails to return the shot or miss it entirely.
However, there are obvious differences between the two games like the size of the courts, height, and position of the net, and the equipment like paddles and balls. Along with the general set up of both the games, the play of tennis differs with pickleball in several ways.
In pickleball, the serve has to be underarm instead of overarm. The ball has to bounce twice (double bounce) before volleys, and there is a ‘no volley’ zone that expands for at least seven feet on both halves of the court.
Pickleball vs. Badminton
There are many similarities between pickleball and badminton as well. Both pickleball and badminton have the same rules. The layout of the court for pickleball and badminton is the same. Both of the games require an underarm serve. However, in pickleball, players are allowed to let the ball bounce.
In badminton, it is quite the contrary. Though both sports need the same amount of skill set, pickleball is a little liberal when it comes to quick deliveries and smashes. Badminton varies from pickleball in many other instances, like the racquets are different, instead of a shuttlecock, we use a plastic ball in pickleball.
Pickleball vs. Ping Pong
Pickleball and ping pong do not have a lot in common. Initially pickleball was played with table tennis bats, but soon had their own paddle for the game. Ping pong is just like tennis but on a table. However, pickleball and ping pong have the same scoring system.
Apart from that, you can use similar strategies of ping pong in pickleball. Both the games are unique in their own way and require more or less the same skillset to play. Pickleball is, however, a little easier than ping pong.
Pickleball in India
Pickleball is indeed an interesting and fun sport. The sport was first brought to India by Sunil Valavalkar in 2008. Sunil was introduced to the sport in 1999 during his visit to Canada. He initially learned the game in Vancouver from the landlord of the place he was residing in. Sunil did not know much about the sport until his visit to Cincinnati in 2007.
After learning everything about the sport, Sunil came back to India and started teaching the sport in and around his neighborhood. Soon, various schools and gymnasiums across Mumbai caught drift of this new sport and hired Sunil to train students and other members in the sport.
In 2008, pickleball was very popular across Mumbai and was rapidly spreading in different parts of India. In the same year, Sunil created the All India Pickleball Association (AIPA), and appointed himself as a joint secretary. Today, there are over thousands of schools and training centers for the sport all across the country.
Pickleball has become relatively popular in India over the past few years. With Pickleball competitions and tournaments being hosted every year, the sport seems to be climbing the ladder to Cricket, Badminton and Hockey in India. After all, it is a fun sport that does not require intense efforts. The game helps people unwind and let their guard down.