Pickleball was invented in 1965 when Joe Pritchard and his friends and family went to play badminton before realizing they did not have any racquets or shuttlecocks. They decided to use table tennis paddles and a plastic ball instead and the sport of Pickleball was born. After realizing that the ball bounced well on the paved surface, they lowered the badminton net until it touched the ground, giving the court a similar appearance to tennis.
Despite conflicting reports, the name pickleball was derived from the family dog, pickles.
A pickleball court features many components. A net that runs along the centerline separates two rectangular halves. Within each half there is a non-volley zone, referred to as 'the kitchen", next to the net in which players are not allowed to hit the ball while it is in the air, known as volleying.
A player or team wins once they have scored 11 points, win by 2, or 15 or 21 depending on the tournament style.
Each point begins with a crosscourt underhand serve from behind the end line that must land past the non-volley zone. There is only one serve attempt allowed unless a let occurs. The receiver must let the ball bounce and can then return the ball with a hit of their own. The serving player also lets the ball bounce and then the players are allowed to volley during the rally.
Players can only score if they were the server of that point. In doubles, both players serve for one team before the service goes to their opponent. The serving team switches sides of the court if they win the point.
Common hit attempts are drop shots or dinks, in which the ball is barely hit over the net so the receiving team has trouble getting it back over. This also makes it difficult to hit a smash, an overhand power shot that is difficult to react to quickly. All lines are considered in if the ball makes contact with them.
The USAPA (United States of America Pickleball Association) is the premier organization in the United States while the sport is also popular in Europe and Australia.