By Glenn Barton :: Photography by Kelsey Grudle
Pickle Ball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island close to Seattle Washington. Three dads, whose kids were weary of summer time activities, created the game to relieve their boredom. Legend has it that Pickles, the resident Cocker Spaniel, would chase the errant ball in the early formative days of the sport. It was “Pickles’” ball, thus the game was named.
Since then, the rules and equipment have been refined and now the sport is the fastest growing in America. The USA Pickle Ball Association has more than 200,000 registered members with an estimated eight million playing worldwide.
Pickle Ball is most commonly played in a doubles format on a court one third the size of a tennis court. The action is fast but not overly stressful on the knees and other joints. Its popularity and growth are due to the baby boomer population looking for something more exciting than bingo but less time consuming and easier on the body than other sports. The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) recently hosted the 2016 US Open Pickle Ball championships in Naples, Florida where hundreds of competitors competed for thousands of dollars in prize money.
The game is played on a court 20 feet wide and 44 feet long. The net is 34 inches high in the middle and 36 at the net poles. You strike a plastic Wiffle® Ball-looking ball with a smooth surfaced paddle over the net to win points. A unique feature of this sport is an area seven feet from the net called “the kitchen” or the “no volley zone.” You are not allowed to enter the kitchen unless the ball has bounced in this no volley area. This unique design allows for multiple strategies to be employed and is partly what causes the game to be so player friendly. Pickle Ball is addictive, fun, fast paced and people friendly.
Cordillera Ranch has recently joined in on the fun by adding Pickle Ball to its social calendar, as well as offering lessons, court times, and competitions. Pickle Ball is the fastest growing sport in America and also at Cordillera Ranch.
Glenn Barton is the Tennis Director at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 830.336.4660.