How Pickle-ball® Came to Be

The Birth of Pickle-ball®

Pickle-ball® is a game for the whole family. So it’s only fitting that it was invented by a family, too. The game got its start back in 1965, in Bainbridge Island, just a short ferry ride away from Seattle, WA 

When Congressmen Joel Pritchard, William Bell and Barney McCallum came home from a game of golf one day to find their kids bored and restless, they set out to create a game that would engage them through the lazy days of summer.

They wanted to create a game that would be challenging, but still accessible. They handed the kids ping-pong paddles and a wiffle ball, and lowered the net on their badminton court. In the coming days both kids and adults alike fell in love with the game, and as they played the rules evolved (to include the non-volley zone, for instance) and solidified to their present incarnation.

Pickle-ball's Birthplace — Bainbridge Island



The Early Years

Pickle-ball® caught on fast with friends and neighbors. People began making their own Pickle-ball® paddles, which were more suited to the game than ping-pong paddles, using a wood jigsaws and marine plywood. Those who had access to badminton courts simply lowered the net. Others set up courts in their driveways and backyards, drawing lines with chalk. News of the fun new game spread by word-of-mouth.

Evolution of Pickle-ball®

Pickle-ball® continued to gain in popularity over the years for players of all ages, and in 1972, Pickle-ball® was officially incorporated to give the game a proper hub and keep up with the demand for paddles, balls, nets and other gear. 

An Interview With Our Own Barney McCallum



Pickle-ball® Today

Today Pickle-ball® is played all over the world—through community groups, PE classes, YMCA, retirement communities and more. There are more than 100,000 people playing Pickle-ball® in the US alone, and the game is growing exponentially.