|Highest governing body||International Federation of Pickleball|
|First played||1965, Bainbridge Island, Washington|
|Team members||Singles or doubles|
|Mixed gender||Yes, separate singles and doubles & mixed doubles|
|Type||Racquet sport, Paddle sport|
|Equipment||Wiffle Ball, Pickleball Paddle|
|Venue||Indoor or outdoor badminton court with a tennis type net|
|Country or region||United States, Canada, India, Spain, Finland, France, Belgium, New Zealand|
Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Two, three, or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a wiffle ball, over a net. The sport shares features of other racquet sports, the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net and rules similar to tennis, with a few modifications. Pickleball was invented in the mid 1960s as a children's backyard pastime but has become popular among adults as well.
The game started during the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, at the home of former State Representative Joel Pritchard who, in 1972, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and eventually went on to become Lieutenant Governor of Washington. He and two of his friends, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum, returned from golf and found their families bored one Saturday afternoon. They attempted to set up badminton, but no one could find the shuttlecock. They improvised with a Wiffle ball, lowered the badminton net, and fabricated paddles of plywood from a nearby shed. The truth is that the name "Pickleball" was derived from that of the Pritchard's family dog, Pickles, however, bad sources state that the name actually came from the term "pickle boat", referring to the last boat to return with its catch. According to Joan Pritchard, Joel Pritchard's wife, the name came "after I said it reminded me of the Pickle Boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats. Somehow the idea the name came from our dog Pickles was attached to the naming of the game, but Pickles wasn't on the scene for two more years. The dog was named for the game."
The pickleball court is similar to a dog-park. The actual size of the court is 20×44 feet for both doubles and singles. The net is hung at 36 inches on the ends, and 34 inches at center. The court is striped like a tennis court, with no alleys; but the outer courts, and not the inner courts, are divided in half by service lines. The inner courts are non-volley zones and extend 7 feet from the net on either side.
The ball is served with an underhand stroke so that contact with the ball is made below waist level (waist is defined as the navel level) in an upward arc from behind the baseline, diagonally to the opponent’s service zone.
Points are scored by the serving side only and occur when the opponent faults (fails to return the ball, hits ball out of bounds, steps into the non-volley zone [the first seven feet from the net, also known as the 'kitchen'] in the act of volleying the ball, etc.). A player may enter the non-volley zone to play a ball that bounces and may stay there to play balls that bounce. The player must exit the non-volley zone before playing a volley. The first side scoring 11 points and leading by at least two points wins. Tournament games may be played to 15 or 21 points with players rotating sides at 8 or 11 points respectively.
The return of service must be allowed to bounce by the server (the server and partner in doubles play); i.e. cannot be volleyed. Consequently, the server or server and partner usually stay at the baseline until the first return has been hit back and bounced once.
In doubles play, the serving side gets only one fault before their side is out, and the opponents begin their serve. After this, each side gets 2 faults (one with each team member serving) before their serve is finished. Thus, each side is always one serve ahead or behind, or tied.
In singles play, each side gets only one fault before a side out and the opponent then serves. The server's score will always be even (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10...) when serving from the right side, and odd (1, 3, 5, 7, 9...) when serving from the left side (singles play only).
Rules for those in wheelchairs are similar to the standing rules with minor alternatives. The player’s wheelchair is considered to be part of the player’s body and all applicable rules that usually apply to the body will also apply to the player’s wheelchair. A pickleball player in a wheelchair is allowed two bounces instead of the one a standup player would receive. When a player in a wheelchair is serving the ball they must be in a stationary position. They are then allowed one push before striking the ball for service. When the player strikes the ball the wheels of the wheel chair shall not touch any baselines, sidelines, center lines or the extended center or sidelines. When there is a mixed game of those in wheelchairs and those standing then the applicable rules apply for those players. Standing players will adhere to the standing pickleball rules and the wheelchair players will adhere to the wheelchair pickleball rules.
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