“The fun game with the funny name!”
How did this amazing game get started? View this video that goes back to Bainbridge Island, the birthplace of the sport, to find out how it all got started. It takes you back to a rainy island day in 1965 when the kids had nothing to do, and some charismatic men decided to make up a game! Learn how the founders made up the rules, how it spread, and a dog named Pickles, and how the “pickle boat” played a role in naming it “Pickleball.”
For a complete history, click here.
In 1984, the USAPA (United States of America Pickleball Association) was organized to perpetuate the growth and advancement of Pickleball on a national level. Along with it, the first rulebook was published in March of 1984. It was re-organized into a corporation in 2005.
To ensure consistency in rules and regulations wherever Pickleball is played, the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) was organized to perpetuate the growth and advancement of Pickleball throughout the world. The most recent update to the IFP Rulebook was in February of 2018.
The first USAPA National Tournament for players of all ages was held in Buckeye, AZ in November of 2009 and has continued in different locations growing larger every year. The tournament drew almost 400 players from 26 states and several Canadian provinces. The first US Open Pickleball Championship was held in Naples, FL in early 2016. The US Open is a world class, international event which attracts the best players in the sport, as well as Pickleball enthusiasts of all ages and ability levels and also is growing in huge numbers each year.
Over the last 10 years, the sport of Pickleball has been exploding in popularity. The number of places to play has more than doubled since 2010. According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) 2017 Pickleball Participant Report there are 2.815 million players in the US – an increase of 12.3% over last year, making it the fastest growing non-team sport in America. (SFIA is the premier trade association for top brands, manufacturers, retailers and marketers in the American sporting goods and fitness industry.) The sport is growing among all age groups, but the largest explosion of participation has been in the 60+ age group because the game is easier on the joints to play than several other sports like tennis and racquetball.
The sport is also growing worldwide with new international clubs forming and national governing bodies now established in Canada and India. In time, this sport which is a combination of tennis, badminton and table tennis (all in the the Olympics) will likely become an Olympic sport with the global growth of this sport!