Pickleball, a sensational game for all generations, has crossed the Pacific and landed in Australia. Laughter and whiffle balls popping gleefully off paddles herald the arrival of this crazy game with the funny name.
What is Pickleball?
Pickleball is a game played either indoors or out, as singles or doubles, on a court the size of a badminton court over a low tennis-style net. It is played with a paddle made from either wood, graphite, or aluminium and a light, plastic whiffle ball a bit larger than a tennis ball but with holes in. The scoring takes you through to eleven and the winners must be ahead by two. Because the games are relatively short, players waiting in the wings for a court are assured of a game without much delay. It’s the best fun to be had on two legs!
Invented on Bainbridge Island, Seattle some 50 years ago by Barney McCallum and a group of sports-crazy friends, it was initially played with wooden paddles a bit larger than a ping-pong bat. In fact, the game is a mixture of tennis, badminton and ping-pong and as such is highly favoured, and easily learned by players of these and other bat-and-ball sports. Little did the inventors know that forty years later the sport would boast millions of players across four continents.
Where did the name come from?
Many stories abound on this subject. Was it because of the pickle boats that had mixed crews like the mixed game pickleball is, or was it named after a dog? According to Barney McCallum it was all about the dog. This video tells the story.
No matter the provenance, the game is attracting players of all ages and circumstance and their laughter can be heard across outdoor courts and indoor arenas attesting to the power of a game that brings joy, fitness and social connection to mums and dads, kids and grannies.