What is the Craze of Pickleball?

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Pickleball Craze

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the nation. Pickleball is a combination of three different sports: tennis, badminton, and ping pong. Dr. Chandra Cunningham, working in the Greater Louisville area at one of the highest rated auto injury care medical facilities, provides an informative view of the Pickleball craze. The game was created by Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Joan Pritchard is credited with naming the new game ‘Pickleball’ in reference to the pickle boat in crew, which is made up of leftover oarsmen not chosen for other boats. Some people thought the sport was named after the Pritchard’s family dog, Pickles, but investigations have shown that Pickles was born in 1968.

The game was initially played using ping pong paddles and a wiffle ball with the badminton net lowered from 60” height to 36”. Rules were greatly based on badminton rules. In 1972 Pickleball, Inc. was created to help players buy equipment designed specifically for Pickleball and to spread the game into it being an actual sport.

One of the reasons the game has grown so fast is its affordability. All that is needed to play the game is a paddle, ball, and net. The paddles are bigger than ping pong paddles but smaller than tennis rackets and can be made from wood to aluminum to other composite materials. The ball is similar to wiffle balls-lightweight with holes but sturdier. The game is played in a badminton-sized court measuring 44’ by 20’ and the net height is 36” on the sides to 34” in the middle.

Another reason for the growth of the sport is the easy physicality of the game. The game is easier on the body and can be played by all ages and by people of all fitness levels. It also helps to improve the hand-eye coordination and reflexes. If you are at all worried about playing the game due to any health concerns, talk to your doctor before playing.

Pickleball is also easier to learn. Instead of having multiple lessons to learn the game, you can start playing after a few minutes of instructions. The game can be played as singles or doubles. The smaller court can make the game fast paced but it also makes socializing easier with the other players.

The popularity of the sport has so evolved that Pickleball courts are replacing stores such as Old Navy and Bed Bath and Beyond in city malls. Along with local and regional Pickleball tournaments, Pickleball has its own US National Championship and US Open Tournament. USA Pickleball (USAP) is the governing body for the United States.

The current Major League Pickleball (MLP) was formed from the union of the previous Major League Pickleball and Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) in 2021. The first draft was held in 2021 and eight teams participated in a four-day festival. Each team is made up of two women and two men. In 2022 four new teams were added and the first Major League Pickleball tournament was played. In 2023 the league expanded to 24 teams: 12 teams in the Premier Level and 12 teams in the Challenger Level.

If you have not already played the game, gather some friends, find the nearest court near you, and try playing Pickleball. Be a part of the craze!

— This article is written by Chandra Cunningham, DC, one of the members of Chambers Medical Group’s team of car accident chiropractors who offer a variety of treatments and therapies ranging from diagnostic testing to various soft tissue therapies for car accidents and injuries in Kentucky.




















































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