Pickleball’s uphill climb to mainstream success

Photo Andrea Kessler

By Josh Woods ~

Most newer sports are hybrids of older ones, and pickleball is no exception. The progeny of tennis, badminton and pingpong, pickleball is played by singles or doubles teams who hit a ball back and forth over a 3-foot-high net until one opponent commits a fault.

In 1965, the inventors of pickleball played with what they had – a repurposed badminton setup, pingpong paddles and a perforated plastic ball.

Today’s 4.8 million American pickleballers have much more to play with: In the U.S. there are 38,140 courts, 300 manufacturers of pickleball equipment and hundreds of grassroots clubs.

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