Pickleball — The Game With the Funny Name Is Growing Fast

If you've heard of "pickleball," chances are you associate the sport with seniors. That's not surprising, as it was the 55-plus set that began growing the paddle sport with the quirky name around the late 2000s. Today, pickleball is attracting players of every age as it explodes in popularity. There are even hints that it may become an Olympic sport. Pickleball is a combination of badminton, ping pong and tennis. It's played on a badminton-sized court (indoor or outdoor) with a low net like that used in tennis. Players wield a paddle that's smaller than a tennis racquet, but larger than a ping-pong paddle, and bat a whiffle-type ball back and forth. Games may be played as singles or doubles, with doubles being the most popular. Play continues until someone faults. A fault occurs when the ball is hit out of bounds, doesn't clear the net, or is volleyed from the non-volley zone. Most games are played to 11 points, with a 2-point spread needed to win, and each game typically lasts just 15 to 20 minutes. Experts say the game is easy to learn, doesn't take a lot of time to play and is accessible, as players just need a racquet and ball. It provides a great workout, too. So, why “pickleball” for a name when no pickles are involved? The story goes that Joel Pritchard, one of the game’s inventors, had a dog named Pickles, who would grab the ball during their games and run off with it. The name stuck and so did the game.