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Unlike other popular sports, pickleball doesn’t have a history that dates back to over 100 years. However, it’s not the newest of sports either if we were to go by the dates. This sport was invented by Barney McCallum and Joel Prichard along with their neighbors in 1965.
With the increase in popularity, people don’t just want to learn about the rules but also the origin of the sport. And when it comes to that, most people wonder where in the world did the word pickleball come from?
Why is it called pickleball
Well, as far as the name goes, there are two contradicting origins: Dog story from McCallum family and Boat story from Prichard family.
Dog Story: The McCallum family suggests that pickleball gets its name from Joel Prichard’s dog named pickles. Joel Prichard and his neighbor, Jim Brown, adopted a Cockapoo puppy. This puppy developed a habit of picking a plastic whiffle ball and running away with it. Based upon his actions, McCallum, Prichard and Brown family came up with the name pickleball in the living room of Prichard’s cabin.
Boat Story: A contradicting story given by Prichard himself involves his wife. Joan Prichard was a competitive rower and she came up with the name pickleball since it reminded her of the pickle boat. Pickle boat as a term is used to refer to rowing teams who are weaker and mismatched.
While there are contradicting stories, generally more people believe the story about the dog named Pickles rather than the boat. Many journalists have looked past the boat story whereas the dog story has persisted and it seems to be present in several major newspapers and pickleball circles on the internet.
Is pickleball for old people?
People referring to it as a sport for old people are probably just judging by the sport by its cover without looking under the surface. When you search for pickleball, all you get are old people trying to stay active on the court with the help of a paddle and a ball. However, that’s just an assumption and the reality is quite different.
Pickleball isn’t a senior-only sport and is not tailored towards any specific demographic. Anyone can any walk of life can play pickleball. From kids looking for some activity to 30-years old wanting to work out. From middle-aged people trying to stay fit to seniors wanting to experience the thrill, it’s for everyone. Be it an 8-year old kid or an 80-year old senior, anybody can play pickleball.
Right now though, the pickleball player demographic does skew a little older than most sports. Older people love pickleball because it is an easy, less intense sport than tennis which allows them to get active and get some exercise in a competitive sport.
Who plays pickleball?
Kids, young adults, adults, middle-aged people, and seniors play pickleball. At any given age, you can either play a sport as a hobby or as a profession and pickleball is no different.
People of all ages who want to stay fit and keep their muscles active play pickleball. At the same time, people who want to take it up a notch and achieve something, play pickleball competitively.
For those wanting to play professionally, practice once or twice a week and take the game pretty seriously as opposed to a casual player.
Each of the competitive players aims to improve their level. If you haven’t heard about it, pickleball has skill level definitions based upon which a player is judged.
- 2.0 Skill Level
- 2.5 Skill Level
- 3.0 Skill level
- 3.5 Skill level
- 4.0 Skill Level
- 4.5 – 5.0 Skill Level
Level 2.0 skill suggests an amateur player whereas the level 4.5-5.0 is advanced or professional.
Why is it called the kitchen in pickleball?
Similar to the origin story, there’s no concrete story which backs up the name kitchen in pickleball. There are many theories surrounding it and one of the most popular ones is the shuffleboard one. The concept of kitchen exists in shuffleboard wherein if you score from behind the primary scoring zone i.e. 10-off area, you lose 10 points through deduction.
In pickleball, Kitchen area is also known as the ‘’No Volley Zone”. As the name suggests, a player cannot volley when he/she is standing in the kitchen area. Upon doing so, there’s a point deduction. Thus, we can see the resemblance with shuffleboard. However, there’s no concrete evidence that the kitchen in pickleball was primarily inspired by shuffleboard.
Why is pickleball a good progression for tennis?
Pickleball as a sport isn’t as intense as tennis. It’s light and quite comfortable. As a tennis player, you’re already accustomed to running around the field using your entire body to cover the ground. Thus, your hands along with your legs are extremely active during your playing days.
However, when you cross 35-40, your movement slows down and eventually, you can’t compete at a professional level against young players. Thus, switching to pickleball at this movement is highly advisable.
With the existing knowledge of tennis, you can ace pickleball in a short amount of time. Covering the distance won’t be an issue and learning new shots would be fun. You can competitively play pickleball for the next 20-30 years of your life even if you’re 40-years old and that’s the best part.
Progressing from tennis to pickleball is fairly easy but it does come with certain challenges. Learning shot execution in pickleball takes a fair amount of time as it’s way more delicate. Also, the ball is less bouncy and thus it requires more than just assistance. Furthermore, tennis players use power whereas pickleball is largely about shot placement.
Can I lose weight playing pickleball?
Pickleball though not as high in intensity in tennis, still makes you sweat. As far as losing weight is concerned, if you play pickleball whilst maintaining a proper diet, you can lose weight. If you play pickleball for nearly an hour, you can easily burn between 500-600 calories.
However, if you follow it up with a proper diet then you’re really working your way towards weight loss. The best part about losing weight with pickleball is that you don’t even realize that you’re working out and thus the process feels seamless.
Is paddleball the same as pickleball?
As a sport? Absolutely not. Some of the characteristics resemble each other but both the very different. For instance, paddleball is often referred to as platform tennis. The scoring system is similar to that of tennis. However, in terms of serving and equipment, it’s quite similar to pickleball.
In paddleball too, you can only serve once. Unlike, pickleball where the serves are underhand, you can use an overhand serve. Both these sports are played on 44’x 20’ court but with screen enclosure in paddleball, there’s technically more playing area.
In terms of strategy and overall elements, both paddleball and pickleball are pretty close. From racquets to serves to court dimensions, there’s a lot of similarity between the two sports.
However, both of these are different sports.
Is pickleball easier than tennis?
The answer is yes and no. I know, you’d be confused with my opinion but pickleball like any other sport requires certain traits. Tennis in terms of movements and pace is much quicker than pickleball. Even the power required to serve in tennis is much more. So, from a physical standpoint, tennis dominates the proceedings.
However, when it comes to a technical standpoint, here’s where the entire game of pickleball makes sense. Power and speed aren’t an integral part of pickleball but shot placement definitely is! Executing shots, abiding by the kitchen rule, serving underhand and thinking a step ahead are all common technical features in pickleball. Not saying that its tennis has less technical elements but executing the same in pickleball isn’t a cakewalk either.
Is pickleball a good workout?
You take anywhere between 7000-9000 steps when you play pickleball for 90 minutes. These include the start and stop motion, split steps, lateral steps and thus you’re already engaging in numerous active motions without even realizing. This amount of movement every day or twice a week will make a significant difference in the long run.
Thus, I do feel that pickleball offers a competitive workout with respect to burning calories. If a single session can help burn 600-900 calories, there’s certainly something right with the sport.
Can pickleball be played on concrete?
Yes, pickleball is generally played on concrete or asphalt courts. These courts are quite identical to the ones we see in basketball and tennis. They are often textured with rounded and smooth, non-aggressive silica sand which provides a slip-free surface both in wet and dry conditions.
Can pickleball be played on grass?
A simple answer to this question would be No. Unlike tennis where the ball has a great bounce, pickleball ball doesn’t. Thus, even if you try to play on grass, your shots won’t be as effective making it a dull game.
To play pickleball seamlessly, you ought to have a solid outdoor surface or a hard court made of concrete or silica. For instance, people also try to play pickleball on sand but that doesn’t really carry the same smoothness in movement as the hard surface does.
Is a pickleball court different than tennis court?
Only in terms of size. Pickleball court size is smaller than tennis and is similar to a doubles badminton court. It’s 20ft wide and is 44ft long. In regards to materials, a pickleball court similar to the tennis court is hard with smooth and non-aggressive silica sand.
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