How Was Pickleball Named? Uncovering The Surprising Origins Of This Popular Sport

aerial photography of two person playing tennis

Pickleball: Where Did the Name Come From?

Have you ever wondered why pickleball, the popular paddle sport originating from the United States, is called “pickleball”? While it is not known for sure where exactly this unique name came from, there are several fun theories about how this game got its name.

The Creator’s Wife Theory

One of the most common theories is that pickleball was named after Joel Pritchard’s wife, Billie Jean. It is said that when she would join in on a game with her husband and some friends they would be playing “the Pickles’ Game.” This could then have been shortened to simply “pickleball.”

A Spoof on Tennis

Another theory suggests that since tennis was so popular among those who played pickleball in its early days, they wanted to come up with a funny name for their own game. They decided to call it “pickled-tennis” as a spoof on traditional tennis which eventually became just “pickleball”.

The Historical Significance of Pickles

Finally, some believe that there may be historical significance behind why someone chose such an odd name for this particular sport. The word “Pickles” has been around since at least 1599 and can refer to anything preserved or brined in vinegar or other liquids – like cucumbers! In fact, cucumbers were even thought by many cultures throughout history to have special healing properties when eaten or put into liquids making them quite valuable goods during times of struggle and famine. Thus it makes sense that someone might want to pay homage to something so important while creating a new pastime!

No matter what story you choose to believe about how pickleball got its unusual but now beloved moniker one thing we know for sure is that no matter what you call it – everyone loves playing pickle ball! So why not grab your paddles and try it out today; You won’t regret it!


To conclude, although we don’t know which of these stories holds true about how the famous game of Pickle Ball got its unique name – researchers suggest three possible origins: The Creator’s Wife Theory; A Spoof on Tennis; and The Historical Significance of Pickles. No matter which theory you choose though one thing remains certain: Everyone loves playing Pickle Ball!