23 Fun & Random Facts About Pickleball

23 Fun & Random Facts About Pickleball

Pickleball, while a relatively new sport, has some mind-blowing statistics that highlight its rapid growth and increasing popularity. Here are some of those impressive stats:

  1. Invention: Pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, Washington.
  1. Origin of the Name: There are two theories about how pickleball got its name. One is that it was named after Pickles, the dog of one of the game's co-founders, who would chase after the ball. The other is that it was named after the term "pickle boat", referring to the last boat to return with its catch. 
  1. Unique Paddle: Unlike tennis or badminton, pickleball uses a solid paddle made of wood, flax fiber pickleball paddle, or toxic oils like carbon fiber.
  1. Ball Design: The ball used in pickleball is similar to a wiffle ball, with holes through it. 40 hole pickleballs for outdoor and 26 holes for indoor
  1. Court Size: A pickleball court is smaller than a tennis court, measuring 20x44 feet, which is the same size as a doubles badminton court.
  1. Net Height: The net in pickleball is hung at 36 inches at the ends and 34 inches in the middle.
  1. Serving Rules: In pickleball, the serve must be made underhand and each point must be started with a serve. 
  1. Double Bounce Rule: After the serve, each side must make at least one groundstroke prior to volleying the ball (the double bounce rule). 
  1. Non-Volley Zone: There is a 7-foot non-volley zone in front of the net (often called the kitchen) to prevent spiking.
  1. Scoring System: Games are usually played to 11 points, win by 2. Some tournaments play to 15 or 21.
  1. Popularity: Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States.
  1. Pickleball Day: National Pickleball Day is celebrated on August 8th every year. 
  1. International Reach: The sport is played internationally, with many countries having their own governing bodies.
  1. Pickleball in Schools: The sport is included in physical education programs in schools across the United States.
  1. Combination of Sports: Pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong.
  1. Explosive Growth in Players: As of 2023, there were over 4.8 million pickleball players in the United States, a growth of over 39.3% from 2020 according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA).
  1. Demographic Diversity: Pickleball players come from a diverse range of ages. About 75% of core players (those who play 8 or more times a year) are under the age of 55, dispelling the myth that it's only a senior's game.
  1. Rapid Increase in Facilities: The number of places to play pickleball has more than doubled in the last decade. In 2021, there were over 10,000 places to play in the USA, compared to about 4,300 in 2010.
  1. Growing School Inclusion: Pickleball is being taught in physical education programs in over 2,000 schools in the United States, a number that's consistently growing.
  1. International Expansion: Over 40 countries now have their own pickleball associations, indicating the sport's expanding global footprint.
  1. Rising Tournament Participation: The 2021 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships had over 2,342 participants, a record number for the tournament. 
  1. Economic Impact: Major pickleball tournaments have a significant economic impact on host cities, often bringing in millions of dollars through lodging, dining, and other visitor expenses.
  1. Surge in Equipment Sales: Sales of pickleball equipment, including paddles, balls, and nets, have skyrocketed, with major sporting goods stores reporting substantial increases year over year.