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We started the Non-Volley Line at 3' and kept moving it back 6" at a time until it got to 7'

Barney McCallum - Pickleball Co-inventor


After playing golf one Saturday during the summer, Joel Pritchard, congressman from Washington State and Bill Bell, successful businessman, returned to Pritchard’s home on Bainbridge Island, WA (near Seattle) to find their families sitting around with nothing to do. The property had an old badminton court so Pritchard and Bell looked for some badminton equipment and could not find a full set of rackets. They improvised and started playing with ping-pong paddles and a perforated plastic ball. At first they placed the net at badminton height of 60 inches and volleyed the ball over the net.As the weekend progressed, the players found that the ball bounced well on the asphalt surface and soon the net was lowered to 36 inches. The following weekend, Barney McCallum was introduced to the game at Pritchard’s home. Soon, the three men created rules, relying heavily on badminton. They kept in mind the original purpose, which was to provide a game that the whole family could play together. 


The first permanent pickleball court was constructed in the backyard of Joel Pritchard's friend and neighbor, Bob O'Brian.


Sold first pickleball set for $29.50 to New York newspaper columnist. The pickleball set include 4 paddles, 2 balls, and a net.


A corporation was formed to protect the creation of this new sport.

  • First paddles were single ⅜” plywood.
  • Built up handles for a better grip.
  • Contracted with a Seattle workshop to make the paddles. 


The National Observer published an article about pickleball followed by a 1976 article in Tennis magazine about "America's newest racquet sport."

McCallum attended the National Sporting Goods Association’s annual meeting and trade show in Los Angeles.

Northwest Center for the Disabled were the first mass manufacturer of the pickleball paddle. (Approximate Year)


During the spring of 1976, the first known pickleball tournament in the world was held at South Center Athletic Club in Tukwila, Washington. David Lester won Men's Singles and Steve Paranto placed second. 

Title IX allowed McCallum to introduce pickleball to schools because physical education teachers were looking for sport for their students that didn’t favor one sex over the other.

The first sport played in the Kingdome was pickleball.


The first composite paddle was made by Arlen Pranto, a Boeing Industrial Engineer. He used the fiberglass/nomex honeycomb panels that commercial airlines use for their floors and part of the airplane's structural system. Arlen made about 1,000 paddles from fiberglass/honeycomb core and graphite/honeycomb core materials until he sold the company to Frank Candelario. 

USAPA "was organized to perpetuate the growth and advancement of pickleball on a national level." The first rulebook was published in March, 1984. The first Executive Director and President of USAPA was Sid Williams who served from 1984 to 1998. He was followed by Frank Candelario who kept things going until 2004.


By 1990, pickleball was being played in all 50 states.


Joel Pritchard passed away at age 72.


The game of pickleball was introduced for the first time in the Arizon Senior Olympics through the efforts of Earl Hill. The tournament was played at Happy Trails RV in Surprise, AZ, and drew 100 players. It was the largest event ever played to that point. 


There are 39 known places to play in North America listed on the Pickleball Stuff website. This represents 10 states, 3 Canadian provinces and about 150 individual courts.

Pickleball was included for the first time in the Huntsman World Senior Games, held each year in St. George, Utah during October.


Mark Friedenberg was named President of the new USAPA Board of Directors.

USAPA became a nonprofit corporation on July 1.

USAPA cooperated with several web sites to have them discontinue their Places to Play links and consolidate all their entries into the USAPA database creating a single reliable source for players to find sites to play.


The Rules Committee, headed by Dennis Duey, published the USA Pickleball Association Official Tournament Rulebook - Revision: May 1, 2008. 

There were 420 places to play in North America as listed on the USAPA website. This represents 43 states and 4 Canadian provinces and about 1,500 individual courts. This does not take into account those places that are adding courts or the many courts at private homes.

Pickleball was included for the first time in the National Senior Games Champion Festival held in Providence, Rhode Island.


The first USAPA National Tournament for players of all ages was held in Buckeye, Arizona. The tournament drew almost 400 players from 26 states and several Canadian provinces.

USAPA establishes the Grant Program to assist players in creating new sites for new players. By the end of 2013 the program has accounted for over 1,400 new sites. 


In January, Justin Maloof joined USAPA as its first full-time Executive Director 


Pickleball has an estimated 2,460,000 players. The Places to Play list boasts over 4,100 sites. The 2015 Nationals fielded over 800 players.


The First Annual US Open Pickleball Championships was held in Naples, FL (April 26 - May 1). The men's doubles match and portions of other championship matches aired on CBS Sports Network on May 20 and re-aired on May 23.


Grow Global, Start Local

The number who know about the sport and getting on the courts is quickly increasing. It's been called the fastest-growing sport in America. Please let us know if you play pickleball in the Trussville, Birmingham metro, or surrounding areas!