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The Founding of Pickleball

“It was strictly an accident,” said Barry McCaullum, on the founders of pickleball. Well, McCaullum’s (pictured above along with his other co-founders) accident proved to be the launching point for one of the most fun, family friendly sports of all time.

Being that pickleball is such a family friendly game, it’s fitting that it was invented by a family. The game got its start back in 1965, in Bainbridge Island, just a short ride from Seattle, WA.

It started after a round of golf, when Congressman Joel Pritchard, William Bell and Barney McCallum came home to find their kids bored and restless, they set out to create a game that would engage them through the lazy days of summer.

They handed the kids table tennis paddles and a wiffle ball, and lowered the net on their badminton court.

In just a few days, the kids and adults alike fell in love with the game, and as they played the rules evolved (to include the non-volley zone, for instance) and developed into the game we know and love now.

At first, people caught wind of the game by word of mouth, and they played the game by making their own paddles, courts, and nets with items around the house - quite different from the game we know today, with all its intricate paddles and accessories.

The sport continued to gain in popularity over the years for players of all ages, and in 1972, Pickleball Inc. was officially incorporated to keep up with the demand for paddles, balls, nets and other gear. Since then, the game has boomed, being played at gyms, clubs, and schools across the country. So much so that it is rumored that over 2,000,000 people play the sport every year.

Not bad for an accident.

An Interview With Our Founder Barney McCallum

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