The Evolution of Pickleball
Bainbridge Island is a small city in the Pacific Northwest. A short ferry ride from the rolling forests and mountains of Washington, it’s known for its beautiful geography dotted with beaches, bluffs, lagoons and dunes. What is less commonly known about the island is that it’s the birthplace of pickleball; an outdoor game that is easy to learn, fast-paced, and highly competitive. Fun for players of any age, pickleball has been growing in popularity since its inception in 1965.
Originally played using a lowered badminton net, table tennis paddles, and a perforated ball, pickleball is a game of volleys where points are earned by forcing one’s opponent to fault. A fault is committed when the ball goes out of bounds, smacks into the net, or is volleyed from the no-volley zone (a 7-foot zone on either side of the net). The server has to serve diagonally to their opponent, and each player must let the ball bounce on their side of the net once before beginning to volley. Only the server can score on a fault, otherwise the opposing player becomes the server. Pickleball courts are 20’x44’, and the game can be played singles or doubles. The more, the merrier, right?
Although pickleball continues to grow in popularity, some basic problems exist with widely-used equipment. Many companies still use repurposed balls with inconsistent holes that quickly lose their shape. Often times, paddles are made and decorated with stickers and vinyl which create an uneven, unreliable surface. Fortunately, the ‘Pickleball Now’ equipment line from Escalade Sports is addressing these issues and setting a new standard of quality. “The core of our mission is to actively grow the sport through innovation,” says Eric Marvin of Escalade Sports. “We’ve engineered a whole line of equipment to bring a new level of consistency and reliability to the game.”
TNT Pickleballs have increased weight and smaller holes to decrease wind interference, optimal for playing outdoors. Indoor Pickleballs are designed for better balance, flight, and bounce. In addition, a variety of different paddles offer players more options when it comes to hitting-surface size, weight, and handling. For example The Edge carbon-fiber paddle is ultra-lightweight and sturdy for more powerful, controlled hits, while The Classic Lite has an edge guard for durability and a larger surface area for a more consistent hit. Additionally, each paddle is designed using a digital printing process for a clearer image and smooth surface that won’t peel or warp. Every product in the Pickleball Now line is manufactured to perform better and last longer than generic equipment.
It’s clear that pickleball has come a long way since ’65, having attracted hundreds of thousands of players (and counting). Whether you’re at the park, the beach, or the YMCA, it’s the perfect game for fast-paced fun, old or young. Be the first to bring the game to your backyard or school’s playground and see why pickleball is standing the test of time.
Looking for a place to play?
Check out www.usapa.org, where you can find indoor and outdoor pickleball facilities in your area, as well as apparel and helpful videos. Learn more about the game, or if you’re experienced, look up tournaments near you. Join one of the fastest growing sports in America!
-Fun For All Ages
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The Evolution of Pickleball