What is pickleball? Breaking the rules, equipment needed to play


Pickleball is a relatively new sport, but it is one of the fastest growing businesses in America. And just about anyone can play.

According to the official USA Pickleball website, the sport was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, Washington. In 1990, pickleball was played in all 50 states.

Interested in playing? Here’s what you need to know about pickleballincluding rules, equipment and more.

What is pickleball?

The game consists of two or more people hit a ball with a racket over a net. It is described by some as a mix between tennis, badminton and table tennis.

How to play pickleball? What are the rules?

First, the opposing teams must determine who will serve first. A simple toss of a coin or a rock-paper-scissors match will suffice.

Each pickleball the serve must be sneaky and land in the opposing server’s cross area. The serve and return of serve must bounce once before being hit.

From there, after the serve and return of serve, each team can volley, which means each team can hit the ball either in the air or after a bounce. The rally continues until someone fouls, such as a double rebound, the ball goes out of bounds, the ball hits someone anywhere other than below their paddle side wrist or when someone one hits him in the net.

You can only score if you are the serving team. If your team wins a point and you serve, you continue to serve but switch sides with your teammate. In singles, it’s based on your score; serve on your right if you have an even score, the left for odd.

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If you lose a rally as a serving team, the serve goes to the next player on your team. Each player gets a chance to serve before giving it to the opposing team.

One thing to note: you can’t hit the ball if you’re standing in the non-volley zone or if your momentum carries you beyond that line.

Once you figure that out, it’s time to play. Pickleball is played to 11 points, but you must win by two.

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How does pickleball scoring work?

There are three numbers to keep in mind when setting a pickleball score, if you are playing doubles.

The first is the score of the serving team, followed by the score of the receiving team, then the round of service for doubles.

For example, if you are on a serving team and win 4-2 and are the second round of serve for your team, the score will be 4-2-2.

A pickleball court is divided into two sides with a net.  Each team has two boxes and the non-volley zone, or kitchen, surrounds the net.

Pickleball courts

A pickleball court has two sides, with a net in the middle.

Each half of the pitch is then divided by the halfway line, giving each team member their own box to kick into. The non-volley zone lines, commonly referred to as “the kitchen”, are directly on either side of the net.

The lines surrounding the entire field are called baselines.

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You will need a paddle to play pickleball

But that’s about all.

You will also need at least one other person – an opponent – to play. But as long as you have a racquet, a ball, and an opponent, you can play just about anywhere with a makeshift court.

Pickleball is a relatively new sport, but it is one of the fastest growing activities in America.  And just about anyone can play.

Where does the name pickleball come from?

Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum are credited with inventing the game, according to USA Pickleball. And the name comes from a rowing term.

In crewed, a sport of rowing, rowers not in the starting boats would be added to their own competition, called “pickle boat” racing. Since this newly created game was a mix of existing spots, Pritchard’s wife called him “pickle ball”.

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Where are the pickleball courts in Springfield, Missouri?

Springfield has a handful of indoor and outdoor pickleball courts.

You can play outside at Horace Mann School-Park, Meador Park, Nichols Park and Zagonyi Park, according to the Springfield-Greene County Park Board website.

You can also play inside the Chesterfield Family Center, Dan Kinney Family Center, Doling Family Center and O’Reilly-Tefft Gymnasium.

Pickleball is a relatively new sport, but it is one of the fastest growing activities in America.  And just about anyone can play.

Springfield to host the 2023 and 2024 USA Pickleball Middle States Regional Championships

In May, the Springfield Athletic Commission announced the championships will be held at the Cooper Tennis Complex in 2023 and 2024. Springfield beat out Chicago and Milwaukee to host the events.

After:Why Springfield will be the pickleball hub of the Midwest in 2023 and 2024

Adam Hensley is a digital producer for the USA Today Network. You can follow him on Twitter @A_Hens83 or attach it to ahensley@gannett.com.

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