How Did Pickleball Get Its Name? Uncovering The Fascinating History Behind It!

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What’s in a Name?

When it comes to sports, we often take for granted the interesting stories behind their names and origins. Pickleball is no different – so how did this popular sport get its name? It turns out that the answer has more to do with a family pet than any kind of competitive spirit!

The History of Pickleball

Pickleball was first invented in 1965 by three men on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, Washington. The trio – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum – had grown bored of their usual summer activities and were looking for something new to play. After making up some simple rules and using ping pong paddles as makeshift rackets they began playing what they called “paddle tennis”.

But it wasn’t until one fateful day when Joel Pritchard’s wife Joan decided to join in the fun that pickleball got its name. Joan used her badminton racket which was too small for the game so she went outside and found an old perforated plastic ball from her cocker spaniel named “Pickles” that he liked to play with! This funny little incident inspired them all to call it “pickleball” instead of paddle tennis!

A Growing Sport

Since then pickleball has become increasingly popular as more people discover its easy-to-learn rules and social atmosphere. It can be played indoors or outdoors on almost any surface including grass courts, hardwood floors or sand depending on preference. The sport offers plenty of opportunities to make friends while getting exercise at the same time! With organized tournaments popping up around the world every year, pickleball is definitely here to stay!


It goes without saying that naming something can be difficult but sometimes you just have a stroke of luck like these three inventors did back in 1965! Who knew a playful pup could give birth such an amazing sport? Its popularity continues growing even today with more players discovering pickleballs exciting challenge every day – thanks Pickles!