It’s hard to escape news stories about pickleball—how it’s the fastest growing sport in the US, or how neighbors have gotten into disputes over the noise it makes. Some think of it as a sport for people who aren’t able to play tennis, but the truth is more subtle, and more fun, that that. Here are five interesting facts you didn’t know about pickleball.
Pickleball Is Over 50 Years Old
Because its popularity exploded relatively recently, many people think pickleball is a new sport. But pickleball was invented in 1965 by three dads in Washington State who wanted to create a game that their children could all enjoy together to alleviate summer boredom.
Pickleball Has Nothing To Do With Pickles, and Getting “Pickled” Isn’t About Alcohol
Players are called “picklers,” and “getting pickled” mean you lose a game in a shut-out. So if you’re “pickled,” you lost a pickleball match.
It Wasn’t Named After a Dog
One popular story about the origin of the name for the game was that it was named after one if its inventor’s dogs. But the dog, Pickles, was more likely named after the game, as the pup joined the family two years after the invention of the game.
In fact, the name “pickleball” came from one of the men’s wives—she referred to it as a pickle boat, which is the last boat to finish a rowing race, with rowers populated by rowers who didn’t make it onto other teams. Pickleball’s mashup refers to its mix of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong.
You Can Play Pickleball Indoors or Outside
Pickleball can be played indoors, with an indoor ball, as well as outdoors, with a slightly heavier outdoor ball. Pickleball balls have holes in them, like whiffle balls, but the indoor balls have 26 holes as opposed to the outdoor balls, with 40. Indoor balls are also softer and lighter than outdoor balls.
There’s a Professional Pickleball League
Pickleball has gone pro. You can even watch it on Tennis Channel. Celebrities and other pro athletes have picked up the game and liked it so much they’re buying into or establishing new pro pickleball teams. Such supporters include Jimmy Buffet and LeBron James.
One final interesting fact you may not know about pickleball is that it is good exercise. Although pickleball is meant to be a fun sport for people of all ages and abilities, that doesn’t mean you won’t work up a sweat when you play. In fact, on a hot summer day during an outdoor game, you will certainly need an athletic headband to keep the sweat out of your eyes so you can confound your opponents with your “dink” shot!