The Beginning of Pickleball

The founders of pickleball started with some basic rules:

1. The server gets one serve and it must be underhand.

2. The ball must bounce 2 times before a volley can be hit.

3. There is a 7 foot No Volley Zone.

Why? Because they wanted a fun sport to get players of all ages out on a court and hit the ball back and forth. They wanted it easy to get the ball in play and eliminate aces. They figured that an underhand serve would allow the receiver a much better chance to hit a return and keep the ball in play. They included a No Volley Zone, also called the “kitchen”, so players could slow the game down if they developed the skill for a drop shot.

Pickleball has now become an extremely fast growing sport because of these initial rules with close to 3 million players. You hit your serve to start the point because it is really difficult to hit an ace. The return of serve should also be hit to keep the ball in play. Next is the third shot of the point. This seems to be where many players try to end the point by gritting their teeth, raring back, and hitting the ball with all of their might. Instead, try taking a deep breath and hit the ball much slower to keep the ball in play and ideally in front of your opponent’s feet. 

Try playing one game each time you go to the courts where your goal is to quotExtend the Pointquot rather than end the point. Longer rallies are fun, gives you more exercise, develops your ball control, and allows weaker players a better chance to also extend the point. Of course in competitive games, hit em with your best shots. 

By Gregg Whitfield