What is Pickleball?

How did this amazing game get started? View this episode of I ♥ Pickleball! Pickleball Channel that goes back to Bainbridge Island, the birthplace of the sport, to speak with one of the founders of pickleball, Barney McCallum. It takes you back to a rainy island day 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.

In the media:

Pickleball is a fun game that is played on a badminton-sized court with the net lowered to 34 inches at the center. It is played with a perforated plastic ball (similar to a whiffle ball) and wood, composite, graphite (and other material) paddles. It is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. (See our Skills & Drills page for help in learning the game.)

The game traces its history to the summer of 1965 in Washington State and by 1990 was being played in all 50 states. It has been offered as a recreational sport at a number of schools across the country, including the Quad Cities. It has been actively played locally both indoors and outdoors since 2008 when pickleball court lines were painted on a number of tennis courts at city parks. Quad City pickleball courts are available in Davenport, Bettendorf, Eldridge, Rock Island, Moline, Coal Valley, and Silvis, plus courts in the nearby communities of Muscatine and DeWitt, Iowa, and Geneseo, Illinois.


  • The sport of pickleball has been around since 1965
  • It remained a well kept secret until 2008 when the game hit the senior market
  • Today it is estimated that over 2 million people play the game
  • It is estimated by 2018 there will be over 8 million players
  • 68% of all players are over 60 years old
  • Younger people are being introduced to the game in record numbers
  • 53% are male and 47% female
  • Places to play are up 62% since 2010
  • USAPA membership is up 64% since 2010
  • Played in Canada, Mexico, Netherlands, India, England,
  • Australia, China, Spain, France, Singapore, Aruba, Czech Republic and United Kingdom

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