What happens when a politician comes home from an exciting game of golf only to find his family bored at home?
Yes, Pickleball. At least that’s what happened in the Pritchard household in the summer of 1965. One Saturday afternoon, Joel Pritchard and two of his friends, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum, came home from a game of golf and found their families bored stiff.
Feeling sorry for their families, they attempted to set up a game of badminton for them. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on whether you see a glass as half full or half empty) no one could find the shuttlecock.
Not being men who are easily discouraged, they improvised with a Whiffle ball, lowered the badminton net, and made paddles of plywood from a nearby shed.
The game of pickleball was born. And it is because of the unique way in which it was born, that makes it a unique sport.
And that is why pickleball equipment is also, well unique. How unique? Let’s take a look, shall we?
Pickleball Equipment – So Simple You Won’t Get in a Pickle
If you have never played pickleball, you don’t know what you’re missing.
It’s a simple game but loads of fun. And best of all, the pickleball equipment is not expensive.
A basic game of pickleball is played with just two paddles, known as pickleball paddles, and a pickleball.
You will also need a pickleball net and a hard court, of which a regular tennis court can do. Pickleball sets are readily available in sports shops and are not bulky, making them easy to carry and store.
Let’s examine the pickleball equipment more closely.
The original pickleball paddles that started the game were fabricated from plywood from an old shed. But it seems they were so effective as is evidenced by the way the game caught on quickly.
For a long time after, wood was the main material that was used to make pickleball paddles. But today, things are changing rapidly due to technological advancements that are making sporting equipment in every discipline more efficient and durable.
Pickleball paddles are no exception as modern materials are taking over. Today, you will find pickleball paddles made from lightweight composite materials such as aluminum and graphite.
These technological advancements and improvements in pickleball equipment are making the game more professional and more interesting to play.
As I said earlier, pickleball is a unique sport, so unique that it is the only sport that doesn’t have standard sizes – for the pickleball paddles that is. Coming in different sizes and weights, a player’s selection of a pickleball paddle is based on the player’s preference.
Pickleball – As in the Ball
When Joel Pritchard and his friends couldn’t find a badminton shuttlecock, they improvised with a wiffle ball – a perforated, light-weight, resilient plastic ball.
Little did they know that their improvising would spawn a new game altogether. And that a few years down the line, their idea would be rolling off production lines, and into sporting goods stores.
The ball is as unique as the game itself. There are two variations of the ball, one for outdoor play and one for indoor play, but both have holes through them like a whiffle ball.
Balls come in different colors, including white, yellow and green, but each ball must be a single color so as to meet the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) specifications.
The Pickleball Net and Court
Pickleball paddles? Check. Pickleball ball? Check.
Good, now we move on to the pickleball net and playing court. The dimensions of a pickleball court are 44 feet by 20 feet, a far cry from a tennis court whose measurements are 78 feet by 27 feet.
The small size of the court is mainly due to the nature of the ball – it can’t travel far because of the perforations and the material used to make it.
The pickleball net is 36 inches on the ends and 34 inches in the center. If you choose to play your game of pickleball on a tennis court you will only need to lower the center of the pickleball net to 34″.
Pickleball nets are very portable and lightweight, so there’s no need to worry about transporting them to your next venue of play.
Ready for a Game of Pickleball?
Now that all your pickleball equipment is in place, it’s time for a game of pickleball.
Like tennis, pickleball can be played by 2 players or 4 players in a doubles format.
Who knows, perhaps you might become so proficient in pickleball that you will join the pickleball pro league. it may not command a huge following like tennis and badminton, but it still is a fun sport to play – and watch.