You may think you live on Earth, but truth be told we’ve all been living on Planet Pickleball for the last few years. The sport has become a phenomenon that is gaining more players by the day - you either join the wave or get crashed on! About Town has a pickleball enthusiast or two on our staff, and is ready to help guide the city of Birmingham through this new athletic venture. 

History of Pickleball

Pickleball was actually co-created by a Congressman and future Washington State Lieutenant Governor after a pair of fathers came back from work to find their families bored. That’s when Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and later Barney McCallum took the resources they had around them - a badminton court, some ping pong paddles, and a plastic ball - and played the first round of pickleball with their families in 1965. Adjustments were made early on (like lowering the net from a badminton height) and the popularity began to rise. The sport held its first tournament in 1976, the United States Amateur Pickleball Association was formed in 1984, and pickleball was being played in all 50 states by 1990. 

How To Play

Pickleball closely follows the rules of tennis and badminton and is played on a smaller-looking tennis court. Games can be played in a 1 v. 1 or 2 v. 2 style. The serving team's player stands behind the box on their side and most serve the ball into the inner square of the opposing player that is diagonal to the serve. The opponent will attempt to hit the ball back over the net after it bounces once in the inner square. Points can only be scored by the serving team. A player serves until the opposing team wins a round, alternating between the left and right sides of the court with each new round. Once the first partner on the serving time sees a loss, their teammate then serves until a loss. The opposing team is then given the ball with the opportunity to begin scoring the points. Games are normally played to 11 or 21, with parties needing to win by 2 points to seal the deal.

Where To Play In Birmingham

The Magic City has fully embraced pickleball, with the newly built City Walk BHAM trails adding 10 new courts. Crestwood Park, Heardmont, and George Ward are just a few of the tennis centers in the city that have created beautiful courts as well that are often packed - but with a nice crowd that is ready to let everyone in on the fun. Pickleball of Birmingham and the Magic City Pickleball Club are great ways to keep up with the local community. Get out and have some fun, Birmingham! 

Cover image from Magic City Pickleball Club