Pickleball – A Fun Game for All Ages

Pickleball – A Fun Game for All Ages

Pickleball Paddles and Ball at Hilton Head Island


A History of Pickleball

Pickleball was started in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle, Washington. It was designed to be easy to learn and play whether you are five or eighty-five, or somewhere in-between, with one thing in mind: FUN! Three dads came home from golf to find their kids bored with their usual summertime activities. So they set out to create a game that would get the kids engaged. They took some ping-pong paddles, a whiffle ball, lowered the net on their badminton court to the height of a tennis net. The kids found it difficult to hit a three-inch whiffle ball with a lightweight ping-pong paddle so the dads solved this problem by making larger wooden paddles.

The Rules of Pickleball

A Grandfather on Hilton Head Island Teaches his grandson how to play Pickleball

The more the parents and kids played, the rules started to develop. A player could hit the ball on the bounce as well as out of the air, the serve must be served from the waist down, and, to keep players from standing to close to the net, the non-volley zone (kitchen) was established seven feet back from the net on each side. Players were allowed to enter “the kitchen” if the ball bounced first. To make it fair for both sides, the ball must bounce once on both sides before it can be hit in the air with no bounce.

How Pickleball Got Its Name

How did the founders come up with the name pickleball? It just so happened that one family had a cocker spaniel named “Pickles” who seemed to love to grab the whiffle balls and hide with them in the bushes, because you see, Pickle thought it was his ball. The new mantra of the kids became “Pickles, you bring that back that ball right now.” And, as they say, the rest is history.

Pickle ball continued to gain in popularity and in 1972 was officially incorporated to give the game a proper hub and keep up with the demand for paddles, balls, nets and other gear. Today, the game is played all over the world in PE classes, YMCA, retirement communities and public tennis courts converted to pickleball courts. There are over two million people playing pickle ball in the US alone, and the game is growing exponentially. It’s the fastest growing sport in the country. In 1984, the US Pickleball Association became the governing body of the sport and published it first official rules book. The sport has greatly expanded in retirement communities all over the country but especially Arizona and Florida. It’s slowly working its way to the Northeast with many cities taking out half of the tennis courts and installing two or three pickle ball courts in the same area as one tennis court.

Hilton Head Island has many courts in different plantations but Sun City and Palmetto Dunes seem to have the most courts designed for just pickleball. The only RV resort on the island, Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort, has six courts and can expand to 18 courts as interest increases. It’s not uncommon in the fall and spring, to see owners and guests playing on all six courts in the morning. The sound of pickelballs hitting paddles is the give away sign it’s time to go join the fun. If you are a regular or a first timer, all are welcome.

Play Pickleball at Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort

Two couples playing Pickleball on Hilton Head IslandSo, come to the courts and enjoy the fun. There are plenty of people willing to share the simple rules and teach you how to play. Absolutely no experience in racket sports is necessary, but if you have played racket sports you will find this a great new sport to pick up quickly. Many players have extra rackets and balls that they will gladly loan to play with us. If you want to play on your own, balls and paddles can be checked out in the office for some private practice time with your partner. So when you plan a trip to Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort, remember to bring your bikes to explore the 50 miles of bike trails, your bathing suits for the beach 1.5 miles away (where you can also ride bikes) and your pickleball gear for a good learning experience and workout with owners and fellow guests.

May 12, 2017

Posted In: News