Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Andrew. Andrew Wonders, “What is pickleball” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Andrew!

Do you enjoy a trip to the park? Most people do! After all, parks often have playgrounds, walking trails, picnic areas, and more. What’s not to love? In today’s Wonder of the Day, we’re learning about another fun activity that was made for a fun day outdoors. What are we talking about? Pickleball, of course!

What is pickleball? At first glance, it looks a bit like tennis or badminton. In fact, these games inspired pickleball. It involves a court with a net, paddles, and a plastic ball with holes in it. The game is designed to be fun for people of all ages and skill levels.

How did pickleball start? It was invented by three dads—Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. One summer day in 1965, they were looking for a game to enjoy outside with their families. Games like tennis and badminton were a bit too advanced for their young children to learn quickly. The three men started making adjustments, starting with a plastic ball with holes in it.

Soon, they realized the ball bounced well on the asphalt of a tennis court. With wooden paddles, they began bouncing it back and forth over the net. Eventually, they lowered the net a bit as well. Soon, the families all enjoyed a fun new game together. 

And so, pickleball was born! Eventually, Pritchard, Bell, and McCallum established rules for the game. Pickleball can be played in singles (two people) or doubles (two pairs), and players have to stay within the court boundary

How do you score points in pickleball? Only the serving side can score, and the game follows the two-bounce rule. That means, after a ball is served, each team has to let it bounce once on their side before hitting it. After these first returns, the ball can either bounce once or not at all per side.

Serving teams score a point when the other side fails to return the ball. Most rounds of pickleball end when one team reaches a score of 11 and leads the other team by at least two points. Some tournament games play to 15 or 21 points. The serving side also receives a point when the other team commits a fault, or breaks a rule. If the serving team commits a fault, they lose their chance to serve.

The game of pickleball has become quite popular since 1965. The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) formed in 2005 to help the sport continue to grow. Today, it still holds tournaments and posts information about the official rules. The USAPA also lists the locations of pickleball courts throughout the country. 

Pickleball has also spread internationally. In fact, some people consider it to be the fastest growing sport today. Many have requested to make pickleball an Olympic game, but it isn’t yet widespread enough to reach this milestone.

Have you ever played pickleball? If not, would you like to? Created as a family sport, it can be a great way to spend time with loved ones!

Standards: CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.10, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2

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