Pickleball is said to be a game that literally everyone can play and enjoy. The unique combination of tennis, badminton, and table tennis has been gaining popularity and is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world right now. The game of pickleball was played by only around 100 000 people in 2010 but now the number of players is reaching a staggering 3 million!
What is the secret to pickleball’s phenomenon? Its simplicity. The only real equipment you need is two pairs of paddles and a ball. The International Federation of Pickleball, the largest organization governing over pickleball, regulates the size and material (they have a list of approved products on their website) but if you are just playing recreationally with your friends, nothing is stopping you from using whatever you have on hands. Draw the court on the ground with chalk, find something to serve as the net and you are good to go. Pickleball can be played anywhere as long as there is enough space.
The beginnings of the game go back to the 1960s where it was invented to give bored children something to do during the summer vacation. Three fathers, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum, took it upon themselves to invent a new game to keep their children occupied. They build some wooden paddles and came up with a set of rules that, with some slight adjustments, are still used even now.
The game of pickleball is a great way to actively spend time with your friends and family. It is very easy to learn and it isn’t as tiring as some other games, like tennis where you have to run around constantly to score a point. The pickleball court is relatively small so the players stand next to each other at almost all times. They can keep the conversation going with no effort so it is also a perfect game for socializing. You don’t need to be a fitness star to enjoy it as long as you have good reflexes and coordination.
Official pickleball equipment
You’ve tried playing the game with some simple paddle and balls you found around the house and loved the game? Great, so now it is time to buy some proper pickleball equipment to enjoy it even further!
In the beginning, pickleball paddles were made from wood as that was the material the three fathers used in their first version of the game. Wooden paddles are quite heavy and difficult to handle though, so they were soon replaced paddles made from graphite or composite materials. You can get an average quality pickleball paddle for around $50 but the best ones go for more than $100. One of the better-known makers of pickleball equipment is a US-based company called Head. Head pickleball paddles are so good that they are even used by professionals during tournaments. All of their products are on the IFP’s approved list.
The official pickleball balls are made from polymer and are perforated to allow for airflow. Balls made for playing outside are slightly heavier so that they won’t be blown away by the wind. You can get a good set of balls that should be enough for any recreational play for around $15.