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What is Pickleball (Secrets of pickleball)

Pickleball is a racket sport that combines elements of tennis, padel, badminton and table tennis. It is played with a racket and a perforated plastic ball on a badminton court over a tennis-type net. This sport is usually played in doubles, but can also be played in singles for those seeking a greater challenge. It’s an all-weather sport that can be played both indoors and outdoors.

What Is Pickleball?

Pickleball’s popularity is booming in North America and other countries due to a wide range of factors. The sport is great fun for all ages and levels of play, from beginner to champion. The rules, equipment and dimensions of the game create a unique sport that provides long, dynamic rallies throughout the game.

how to play pickleball

A Brief History of Pickleball

The sport was created in the USA in 1965 on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, Washington. Pickleball’s creators aimed to design a new sport that would be fun, challenging and that everyone could play. They started playing with table tennis paddles and a plastic ball.

At first, they placed the net at the height of a badminton net and played on the fly over the net. Over time they found that the ball bounced well on a solid ground surface, so the net was lowered and the rules evolved into the sport we know today as pickleball. Legend has it that Pickle (Cornichon) was the family dog, and that he never stopped running after the ball. The creators, looking for a name for their new game, decided to call it Pickleball…

The Basic Rules of Pickleball

Winning a game

Pickleball is played to 11 points. The first side to score 11 points and lead by at least 2 points wins. If both sides are tied at 10 points, then play continues until one side wins by two points. Points are scored by the serving team only, and are counted when the opponent commits a fault (fails to return the ball, hits the ball out of bounds, etc.).

Service

The ball is served in an upward motion. The arm must be moving in an upward arc and the racket head must be lower than the wrist when hitting the ball. The ball must pass over the net and land in the opponent’s service box, diagonally opposite the server. A server is entitled to only one serve (no double faults as in tennis). The server continues to serve, alternating service squares, until the serving team loses a rally.

Special rules

Double bounce rule: following the serve, each side must let the ball bounce before it can be volleyed (the ball is hit before it hits the ground).

The official pickleball rules are available on our website.

Pickleball Equipment

Pickleball rackets are lightweight and easy to handle. They are larger than those used for table tennis. They are generally made of wood or a high-tech composite. Prices range from 30 to 200 Euros.

The size of a racket cannot exceed a combined “width + length” of 61cm. A typical size is 40 cm (height) by 20 cm (width). There are no restrictions on thickness or weight. The average weight of a pickleball racket is around 220g.

Certain surface and core materials are not permitted in the composition of a pickleball racket. Materials that produce either a trampoline effect or an additional spin are prohibited. (see official rules for additional specifications).

 

Pickleball balls

This sport is played with a lightweight, perforated plastic ball that is slightly larger than a tennis ball. An official pickleball measures between 7 cm and 7.5 cm in diameter and weighs between 22g and 26g. There are no color restrictions. The ball must have a bounce of between 75cm and 95cm when dropped from a height of 190cm onto a concrete floor.

The ball shown on the left is normally used for indoor play and the ball on the right for outdoor play. The main difference between the balls is the size of the holes. The holes on the outdoor ball are smaller to minimize the effect of wind by reducing air penetration into the ball during flight. However, all approved balls are suitable for both indoor and outdoor play.

The Pickleball Net

This sport net is similar to the nets used for tennis. The width of the pickleball net is 6.7m. Its height is 91.44cm at each end of the net (where it connects to the posts) and 86cm in the middle.

Pickleball can be played using either fixed or portable nets. Fixed pickleball nets have posts permanently planted in the court surface. Portable pickleball nets are designed for quick packing and are easy to set up and remove, as well as being easy to transport in a suitable 1m-long bag. This allows pickleball to be played anywhere on a flat, hard surface.

Badminton and mini-tennis nets don’t meet these specifications, but are still suitable for beginners.

The Pickleball Court

The pickleball court can be set up indoors or outdoors on any type of hard, flat surface. The pickleball court is exactly the same for singles and doubles play, measuring 6.1m wide by 13.41m long. This is the same size as the badminton doubles court, or one-third the size of a tennis court.

The recommended minimum space around the court is 3m on each end and 2m on the sides. This space is essential for safe player movement. A total playing surface of 10m by 18m (min) is therefore recommended.

Pickleball around the world
This sport’s popularity has exploded over the past decade, largely due to the creation of the Pickleball USA Association in 2005. Today, it is considered the fastest-growing sport in North America. The number of pickleball courts, clubs, clinics and competitions is growing exponentially. Pickleball’s popularity has spread to Europe, Asia and Oceania, and it is fast becoming a global sport.

Sources:
  1. Cost to Build a Tennis Court: Factors, Estimates…
  2. Pickleball Court Dimensions
  3. International Pickleball Federation
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