The Origin Story Of Pickleball: Who Started It & How Has It Evolved?

The Origins of Pickleball: A Brief History

Pickleball is a fast-paced, fun sport that has been gaining popularity in recent years. But where did it come from? Who invented the game? Let’s take a look at the history of pickleball and how it became the popular game we know today.

Invented by Accident

It may surprise you to learn that pickleball was actually invented by accident! In 1965, three dads from Washington State – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum – were trying to find something their families could play together on vacation. With nothing else available, they grabbed some badminton equipment and improvised with it. They created an original game similar to badminton but played with a lower net and wooden paddles instead of rackets.

Gaining Popularity

Word started spreading about this new sport among friends and family in the area until eventually people began calling it “pickleball” after Pritchard’s cocker spaniel Pickles who used to chase after errant balls during matches! By 1976 there were over 2,000 outdoor courts around America for people to enjoy this unique sport – numbers which have steadily grown since then thanks to its easy learning curve and accessibility for all ages.


Pickleball is now one of the most popular sports in America – enjoyed by millions every year. The story behind its invention shows just how creative people can be when given limited resources; proving that inspiration can often come from unlikely sources!