Pickleball 101: The Fastest Growing Sport
First invented in the 1960s, pickleball has picked up steam in recent years, becoming one of the fastest growing sports of our time. So what is this newly minted sport with a playful name and cult following?Meet pickleball: the lovechild of pingpong and tennis, the perfect companion to a cold drink and good friend, and the very thing your Saturday afternoons are missing.
Pickleball Paddles + Courts
The pickleball paddle is in between the size of a tennis racket and a ping pong paddle. The pickleball itself is closer in size to a tennis ball, but looks more like a wiffle ball. And unlike ping pong, pickleball takes the game from table-top past-time to heart-thumping sport played on a court that’s a petite version of a tennis court.
Your town might have dedicated pickleball courts, but if it doesn’t, don’t fret! A single tennis court can house one, two, or even four separate games of pickleball, making it an ultra space-efficient sport with room for everyone to play. (Score!)
Now let’s talk court basics. Like tennis, the pickleball court is divided into two areas by a net – your side of the court, and your opponent’s side. The court is fenced in, so to speak, by the baseline at the back of the court and the sidelines on both sides. The area within 7 feet of either side of the net is pretty much a no-no: in pickleball, we call this area the kitchen, and for the most part, you have to stay out of it! (In more technical terms, it’s the “non-volley zone.”) The catch is that if the ball bounces in the kitchen (not including the serve), you can step into the kitchen to hit the ball.
The court then extends 15 feet behind the kitchen, and this is where you will do all your pickleball-ing (technical term: the service court). If you’re playing doubles, you and your partner will play together on the same side of the net. If you’re playing singles, then it’s all you, baby!
How to Play Pickleball
Like all racket sports, pickleball starts with a serve. But in the pickleball universe, the serve must take place behind the baseline, be underhanded and below your waist (think: a volleyball serve that’s only underhanded, not overhanded), and land crosscourt into the opposing team’s service court. Aside from a handful of pickleball rules, you basically just pass the ball back and forth between your opponent – easy peasy. Watch our How to Play Pickleball video below to learn more.
How to Win Pickleball
Besides a good attitude, a healthy dose of optimism, and catlike reflexes, what do you need in order to win pickleball match? Here’s the scoop:
- Score 11 points to win
- Win by 2 points
- Win the best of three matches (often, but not always!)
Best Pickleball Paddle
It's no secret that Recess Pickleball has the best paddle on the market. The designs are top-notch, and the technical specs are even better. With a solid honeycomb core, a textured surface for spin, and a grip that feels like heaven, it will quickly become your favorite paddle.
Our Go-To Pickleball
Pickleballs are a must-have for your next game. Recess pickleballs have a strong, durable, and smooth surface. These white pickleballs give a great bounce and are the most aesthetically pleasing option on the market.
The Court Bag
The ideal carry-all for pickleball paddles, pickleballs, and courtside snacks. Hang it near the front door for the next impromptu game with your pals.