(WKBN) – In 1965, a couple of guys — Joel Pritchard, a congressman from Washington State, and Bill Bell, a successful businessman — came home from golfing and found their families sitting around bored.
This was on Bainbridge Island, Washington (near Seattle). The property had an old badminton court, so Pritchard and Bell looked for some badminton equipment and could not find a full set of rackets. They improvised and started playing with ping-pong paddles and a Wiffle ball.
At first, they placed the net at badminton height of 60 inches. As the weekend progressed, they found that the ball bounced well on the asphalt surface, and soon the net was lowered to 36 inches.
The following weekend, Barney McCallum was introduced to the game at Pritchard’s home. Soon, the three men created rules. They kept in mind the original purpose, which was to provide a game that the whole family could play together.
In 1972, Pickleball pioneer Sid Williams began playing and organizing tournaments in Washington state. By 1990, all 50 states reported playing the game.
In 1999, the first pickleball internet website, Pickleball Stuff, launched and provided players with information, equipment and products.
In 2005, the USAPA USA Pickleball Association was founded.
In 2014, the Pickleball Channel launched making it the first professional media group for the sport.
In 2019, a Sports Fitness Industry Association report indicates pickleball continues as one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. as participants reached 3.3 million.