How Did Pickleball Get Its Name – Story Of The Pickleball

How did pickleball get its name? Who has invented this sport? How did this game become famous today? Have a look at our article, and you will have the answers!

How did pickleball get its name

How did pickleball get its name? (*)


Pickleball is becoming more and more popular, not only in the United States of America but also in other countries.

Some people say that pickleball looks like tennis. Some say that it looks like ping pong. Others say that it is badminton.

However, this sport is none of all! It is merely pickleball! So the question is now, how did pickleball get its name

Right below, we’ll tell you shortly the story of this exciting sport. After learning its brief history, you will understand how pickleball got its name!

Story 1

In fact, there were two different official stories that explain the pickleball name.

And in this section, we will tell you the very first one – “The Dog That Is Called Pickles.”

Before the story starts, we want you to remember the names of some pickleball inventors.

They are Joel Pritchard, Barney McCallum, and their neighbors.

Alright! How did pickleball get its name?

The story begins with a person who was giving his dogs for free. At that time, the little daughter of Joel Pritchard and her neighbor (Jim Brown) had adopted a Cockapoo dog from him and named it Pickles.

Till one day, Joel’s daughter and Jim played a newly invented sport using a racket to strike a wiffleball. Pickles seemed to like the game very much.

So it caught the wiffleball on the ground and ran around the playing court.

Looking at the dog that was so enjoyable with his new toy, Joel Pritchard and Barney McCallum had decided to name the sport pickleball.

At night, while Pickles was sitting in the living room of Joel’s cabin, the name pickleball was officially given.

Story 2

Sounds really cool, right? Unfortunately, the first story is only told by Barney McCallum. In fact, Joel Pritchard’s family said that pickleball has another origin. So, how did the game pickleball get its name in the story 2? Here is how the “Pickle Boat” – the second story happens.

Joel Pritchard’s wife – Joan, who was a professional rower a long time ago, came up with the idea to name the sport “pickleball” because it reminded her of her pickle boat.

In addition, Joel’s family also confirmed that the Pickles dog was named after the sport. Because the Joel family invented the game before they adopted the Pickles, their story seems to be more trustable.


As you have known, Joel Pritchard, Barney McCallum, and their neighbors were the very first people who invented the pickleball.

In this section, we will talk more explicitly about how they created the pickleball.

As Joel and Barney came back home after a golf match, they noticed that their children were so bored and lazy.

Therefore, they had met up with their neighbors in order to create a new sport game. At that moment, all they wanted was to help their kids become more energetic.

The requirement for the game at the very beginning was that the game must be competitive and easy to learn.

Thus, after the discussion, Joel and Barney gave their kids their ping pong paddles along with a Wiffleball.

And then, everyone gathered at their home badminton court.

The adults placed the net at a lower height, and the children played the game for the first time.

After a few tries, the kids seemed to enjoy the game very much.

They played pickleball every single day, and their summer became much more exciting than ever.

Of course, over time, the two families released new rules so that the gameplay became fairer and more competitive.

Some rules that we can tell are the non-volley area, ball in net, etc.


How about the birthplace of the sport? Where did pickleball get its name? Alright! The answer will be revealed in this section!

Joel Pritchard, Barney McCallum, and their neighbors live in Bainbridge Island, Washington, the United States of America.

The pickleball was first played on the badminton court of Joel Pritchard’s home.

After that, the popularity of pickleball has gone out of Bainbridge Island to other cities and provinces in the U.S.A.

Till now, the game has appeared in many other nations such as Canada, Europe, Asia.

Brief History of The Game

Brief history of pickleball game

A brief history of the pickleball (**)

Now, we will summarize all the details above in a brief history. Here, you will have the most precise view of the pickleball origin. So, keep reading!

The pickleball started in the middle of the year 1965 on Bainbridge Island, W.A.

The inventors of this exciting sport were Joel Pritchard, Barney McCallum, and their neighbors. 

At first, the game was only made to help their children entertain during their summer holiday.

Over time, pickleball has become more and more popular. And at the moment, the sport has appeared in many places worldwide.

Barney and Joel firstly used their outdoor badminton court to make the pickleball playing ground.

The game law was relatively easy, as every player uses a racket to strike a Wiffle Ball over and over till one fails to hit.

These rules have matched their requirement that the game must be both competitive and simple to play. 

Day by day, the family has fixed and updated the rules, so that the pickleball can be more suitable for people of all ages to play together.

There were two different origins of the pickleball. One says that the sport was named after a dog. The other says that the game had its name from a boat. 

Although the boat story seems to be the correct version, according to the timeline that the game was invented before the adoption of the dog, the “Pickles The Dog” story is a favorite post on many websites, as it sounds more interesting than the “Boat” story.

Further reading:

Image sources:

(*): Grand Prairie Parks, Arts and Recreation

(**): StAlbertToday

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