What the heck is Pickleball?

It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the state of Florida as well as the entire country. It’s a paddle sport that has a mix of badminton, tennis and table tennis for two to four players. Players use paddles, similar to large ping pong paddles, to hit a pickle. Just kidding…the players hit a plastic like ball over a net. Pickleball is played on a court. The actual game and rules are somewhat like tennis with modifications. The game was invented by, Joel Pritchard, in the mid 1960’s.

How did it get it’s name?

There are two stories how Pickleball got it’s name.

According to the USA Pickleball Association, the game was named after the Pritchard’s dog Pickles. Pickles was a cocker spaniel who loved the game. Whenever the ball came close to Pickle, he would grab it and run off, because it was “Pickle’s ball”.

Joan, Joel’s wife, says, “The name of the game became Pickleball, after I said it reminded me of the Pickle Boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats. Somehow the idea the name came from our dog Pickles was attached to the naming of the game, but Pickles wasn’t on the scene for two more years. The dog was named for the game, but stories about the name’s origin were funnier thinking the game was named for the dog.”


Top five reasons to play Pickleball

It’s great for everyone at all levels                                                               

It’s a social game                                                                                    

It’s a great way to get some exercise

It can be enjoyed by people of all levels

The equipment is light and easy to take on the road


Where can I play in Fort Myers?

There are quite a few places to play in Fort Myers. The Town of Fort Myers Beach Parks and Recreation Department is a great place to check out the game. They offer one game per day, Monday through Friday. Here’s a link to their March and April news letter http://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/documentcenter/view/13101 . You’ll find a schedule of Pickleball games there. Pickleball is also offerd at The Sky Family YMCA, http://www.swflymca.org/news/2016/02/25/fort-myers-news/pickleball-is-now-at-fort-myers/ . You can also take lessons there.


Next time you are in the mood to try something new, give Pickleball a try. Who knows, you might love it! If not, at least you tried a new thing and that is always good.

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