Knowledge Base

How Did Pickleball Get Its Name

Pickleball game is the most famous game in the USA. More than 2.5 have been playing Pickleball in the USA.  But nowadays people are loving it more, not only in the USA but in many more countries. Now some countries are holding tournaments and league of Pickleball sport. The First thing that comes into their mind is their name. Everyone either in the USA or any other country thinks how did pickleball gets its name.

Pickleball’s some players of pickleball don’t know about the logic of this name. The reason is that its name is so unique. It is not like soccer and basketball. But now don’t worry about this because I have answered the question very simply.


History of Pickleball Game

Joel Pritchard is the lucky man who invented this pickleball game. In 1965, Joel Pritchard in  Washington state, along with two of his friends invented the game.

It happened when two families decided to play badminton at hang out at Bainbridge Island during their summertime. As we know shuttlecock is important for badminton. So they start looking for it but they couldn’t find it.

At last, find a Wiffle Ball. So they decided to play with this but they wanted to use something else than then badminton rocket. So they picked a ping-pong paddle which was present nearby. Then after they put a net at the center and started playing.

All of them loved it because it was very entertaining. Now the next question comes into their mind was about its name.

How did pickleball get its name?

When this game became famous then a name was necessary but what to name was not confirmed. So we have two stories related to its name. Both of them are interesting but it is not confirmed which is actual. One story is about a dog and the second is about a boat. Both of these were in different interviews.

1st Story: Pickleball name after a dog

Joel Pritchard’s daughter adopted a cockapoo dog and a neighbor from another family who was giving many dogs for adaptation. The name of the dog was the pickle.

Pickle used to play with that waffle ball. When families were playing pickleball with that waffle ball, sometimes that ball went away. Pickle; that dog went and picked that ball and returned to the players.

Slowly pickle developed that habit to pick waffles. Later this game was named by pickleball game.

McCallum’s family was one of the first players of pickleball. So this confirms that this game was named definitely because of that dog. They stated that they cheered that night when they gave such a funny name to this game.

2nd Story: Pickleball name after a pickle boat

The second story for the name of Pickleball was narrated by the Pritchard family because of a pickle boat. Joan who was the wife of Joal was a competitive rower. She knew much about boats. She thought that this ball looked like a pickle boat so this game should name it as a Pickleball game.

Joan herself confirmed at West Virginia News and the Sentinel newspaper that she was crew rower. She stated that she didn’t know about the pickle boat term at first. Then she researched that the weakest and mismatched crew boat out of all were named as pickle boat.

You have read both stories. Among those, I think 2nd is very reliable. Because it was stated by both daughter and wife of Joel in 2005 that the dog was adopted after two years of the invention of pickleball. They also said that dog was “Pickle” because of this game, not this game was named by this dog. So this story has more logic and witness.

Some expert says Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the USA. But some pickleball players think that still it is not getting proper attention because of its childish name. It should change but keep in mind that this is the opinion of only some players.

Read More: Pickleball Rules


So this was the answer to your question about how did pickleball get its name. First I told you about pickleball and then the history of that game which was necessary for the name of pickleball.

Then I told you two stories whether your first or second one but this game is so interesting.

About the author


I am James Brad i am pickle ball lover and love to write about pickle ball and pickleball gear. I play pickleball from 2015 I hope you like my writing.