6 Ways to Serve Up Fun on National Pickleball Day

National Pickleball Day was only created last year in 2021 by instructor Deirdre Morris, but the game has been going strong since its creation in 1965. Millions of people across the world now enjoy pickleball, and we agree that this is worth celebrating! Do you have anything planned to appreciate the sport today? If not, we have some ideas you can implement with friends or on your own.

August 8th is National Pickleball Day

Play Pickleball (Or Its Variations)

The most obvious way to celebrate is by enjoying the sport itself! Hit the courts and play a few matches, or if you want to do something out of the norm, try out one of the game’s variations. These include skinny and slender singles, a casual round robin or a dink battle to test who’s the most consistent with their soft game.

Play Pickleball On National Pickleball Day

Train Your Mind with Pickleball Trivia

If you’re all tired out from matches, then you don’t necessarily have to stop playing pickleball-related games. Did you know there’s now a Pickleball Trivia Game available? Test your knowledge with your closest pals regarding the sport’s history, pro players, tournaments and rules while learning more about your favorite game in the process.

Pickleball Trivia at Pickleball Central

Share the News on Social Media (or Locally)

While pickleball has greatly grown from its humble beginnings, most of us would love to welcome even more players into the fold. Today is the perfect time to post about what pickleball means to you on social media so your connections might give it a try. If social media isn’t really your thing, you can always bring pickleball-related candy or gifts to your work to introduce more people to the sport.

Give Back to the Community

If you have a local club or community group that manages most of your pickleball-related fun, offering a donation to support their efforts will never go amiss. If you’d like to aim broader, you can also donate to USA Pickleball’s initiatives such as their grant fund and Sid Williams Junior Pickleball Fund which all go towards opportunities that help grow the sport. The International Federation of Pickleball also has a grant program that addresses similar goals on a global scale.

Reflect and Set New Goals

Pickleball doesn’t have to be “deep” in the sense that we’re all training to become pros and win national tournaments, but if you’re the type of person who likes to see clear improvement, it never hurts to have a training strategy. National Pickleball Day is a good opportunity to reset and consider what you want to focus on, and if recording progress is your thing, we have a Pickleball Journal that can help with just that. Once you’ve identified areas you want to strengthen, browse some training videos and get ready to up your game.

Purchase a limited edition National Pickleball Day T-Shirt

National Pickleball Day T-Shirt from Pickleball Central

The National Pickleball Day Shirt was created as a homage to both pickleball and the era it was created—the 1960’s! This beautiful vintage-style tee uses smooth and vibrant colors to enhance the swirled font with a few pieces of pickleball gear accenting the design. It’s a great choice for casual daily wear or for occasions you really want to play up the pickleball spirit.

Shop Women’s

Shop Men’s

Limited quantities available.


On this special day we want to thank everyone for joining us on this crazy ride of promoting, supporting and enjoying pickleball. We’re sure there will be many more years of growth to look forward to, and we hope all our readers get a chance to kick back and have a little fun.

What Is Pickleball?

Pickleball was deemed the fastest growing sport in the U.S. after participation rose 21.3% between 2019 and 2020. In March 2022 it was made the official state sport of Washington. Today there are millions of players not only in America but across the world. What is this popular game and what makes it so appealing? Does it have anything to do with the salty snack referenced in its title? We’ll clear those questions up so you can consider whether you want to grab a paddle to get in the game.

A fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.
Played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a slightly modified tennis net.
Played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes.
Played as doubles or singles.
Can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels
A fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. 

The Basics of Pickleball

Pickleball is a sport played with paddles and a whiffle ball on a badminton-sized court (44’ x 20’). It can be considered a cross between badminton, table tennis and standard tennis, however it’s grown into something far greater with many of its own unique attributes. One of pickleball’s most standout features is the non-volley zone near the net also called the “kitchen” which prevents aggressive strikes too close to the opposing team, allowing players of all ages and sizes to compete on more even footing.

Pickleball court dimensions
Pickleball court dimensions courtesy of USA Pickleball

Equipment for pickleball is typically not expensive, especially if players have local tennis or pickleball-specific courts they can use for play. You can find nearby options using USA Pickleball’s Places 2 Play website. If starting a game in your own driveway sounds more appealing, purchasing a portable net is a great alternative. Once a court location has been established, only paddles and a few pickleballs are needed to get started.

The game has a lower barrier to entry than most other paddle sports thanks to its relatively straightforward rules and small court size, yet competition at the highest levels has been heating up with nationwide and international tournaments promising prizes, fame and recognition of players’ skills. It’s the ideal sport for both families looking for casual fun and more ambitious players craving an opportunity to prove their talent. Games can be played one on one in singles or with teams of two in doubles.

The following video provides a brief introduction to the rules of pickleball so you can get started right away. For more extensive details, take a look at the complete rulebook.

The History of Pickleball

If you’re curious why pickleball has such a strong connection to the Pacific Northwest, that’s because it was founded on Bainbridge Island in 1965 by congressman Joel Pritchard and his friends William Bell and Barney McCallum. The three were on vacation attempting to figure out a game for their kids to play but only had mixed equipment from different sports—so they made do with the items on hand. The initial pickleball gear consisted of table tennis paddles, a whiffle ball and a lowered badminton net, while the finer details grew from there.

As pickleball reached more people by word of mouth and with the creation of the first pickleball equipment company (Pickle-ball Inc), more and more players grew enamored with its charms. Today it’s played not only on public courts but in schools, camps, recreation centers, retirement communities, correctional facilities, YMCAs and many other locales.

Why Do Tennis Players Switch to Pickleball?

This is a common question we’re asked at PickleballCentral and after having interacted with many tennis players who got addicted to the game, we can share some of the most common answers:

  • Smaller court size and lighter equipment is easier on the body
  • Shorter match length (around 15-25 minutes compared to a tennis match averaging 90 minutes)
  • Friends and family can quickly learn to play adequately even if they have no experience
  • More depth and strategy to the game than it seemed at first glance
  • Competitive opportunities and tournament money without being as oversaturated as tennis
  • Not much elitism/friendly community filled with all types of people
  • It’s fun!
#1 pickleball player Ben Johns with tennis racquet and pickleball paddle
#1 player Ben Johns had a background in both tennis and table tennis before focusing on pickleball

Apart from occasional spats over players commandeering tennis courts for the use of pickleball, we believe there’s no reason these two sports can’t coexist! Both offer their own individual perks and while some tennis players have switched over to pickleball entirely, others continue to enjoy both. Many of the top pickleball players in the world have tennis backgrounds, so there is certainly an overlap of abilities between the sports and it never hurts to diversify ways to stay fit.

Why Is It Called Pickleball?

The burning question many new players have is why pickleball is called what it is. While we hate to let readers down, the sport does not actually have anything to do with brined cucumbers. When pickleball was first developed, Joan (Joel Pritchard’s wife) called the game pickleball because, “The combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats.”

Later on Barney McCallum would say the name was chosen in honor of the Pritchards’ dog, Pickles, who would snatch the whiffle ball away from the families at play. However, the cocker spaniel was purchased over a year after pickleball had already been founded, meaning the dog was named after the sport rather than the other way around. Can’t blame a businessman for wanting a memorable origin story!

Pickleball founders Barney McCallum, Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell with project manager of Seattle’s former Kingdome

How to Start Playing Pickleball

If you already have a nearby court to visit then grabbing a bundle of paddles and pickleballs is all you need to begin. If there don’t seem to be any courts you can easily reach (remember that badminton and tennis courts can be tweaked for pickleball use) then purchasing your own portable net will allow you to set things up wherever there’s access to a hard, flat surface. Many players begin right at their own homes or else look for unused parking lots. You can either grab a net as part of a complete pickleball set or as a stand-alone purchase.

Wood paddles are the cheapest options available and very hardy, making them a great investment for kids or new players concerned they may lose their grip while learning the ropes. As your skills improve then lighter and more responsive options made from graphite or composite surfaces will be the next upgrades.

We’re always happy to help newcomers to the game find the best options for their needs. If you’d like to start playing pickleball but still have questions, give us a call and we’ll help you figure out which gear will work for you.

Meet Mike Hess – Global Ambassador of Pickleball

Meet Mike Hess, the founder of the Spanish Pickleball Association and long-time global ambassador of the sport. Mike, a native of Southern California, has been living in Europe for the past 28 years. He founded the Spanish Pickleball Association in 2012 and served as President until 2018, laying the groundwork for the growth pickleball is experiencing in Spain today. He also served two years as president of the International Pickleball Federation (IFP) where he presented the sport in many countries such as China. We connected with Mike to hear how he got started with pickleball, learn how he took it to Spain and to find out how the sport is continuing to develop in “Espanya.”

How did you get started with pickleball?
In 2009 I was working as Director of Basketball for the National Senior Games Association (NSGA) and some of the athletes told me about pickleball. It wasn’t an official sport of the Senior Games yet, but I was intrigued and decided to check it out. I had to search to find courts back then, but after watching a few games and observing the players’ interactions, I was drawn to the sport and decided to get involved. I started collaborating with the USA Pickleball Association to improve understanding of how to increase participation and I’ve been working on growing the sport ever since.

Mike setting up pickleball courts in Madrid, Spain
Mike setting up pickleball courts in Madrid, Spain

What is your background in sport that led you to promoting and developing pickleball?
I’ve always been active in sports. I played many growing up and earned a Division I basketball scholarship to the University of California, Irvine. After playing four years I stayed on as an assistant coach for two years while earning an MBA and then received a contract to play professional basketball in Germany so I moved to Europe. When my hoop-playing days were over, Adidas hired me to work at their headquarters in Germany. I ran the European marketing division for basketball and later worked on global promotion strategies for Adidas-sponsored events like the Olympic Games.

Mike presenting pickleball at the World Sport Summit in China along with the other International Sport Governing Bodies
Mike presenting pickleball at the World Sport Summit in China along with the other International Sport Governing Bodies

How did you get involved with pickleball outside of the US?
I’ve been living in Europe for the past 28 years. I left Adidas to do a PhD in Business in Barcelona and have been living in Spain for the past 24 years teaching business courses at CUNEF University in Madrid. I spent my summers in the US working with NSGA and USAPA to promote sport participation and decided to initiate pickleball in Spain and Europe where I lived most of the year. In 2012 I founded the Spanish Pickleball Association (SPA) and was president until 2018. I helped several other European countries introduce pickleball and was eventually elected president of the International Pickleball Federation (IFP).

Mike along with team members of the Spanish Pickleball Association
Mike along with team members of the Spanish Pickleball Association

How has the sport evolved in Spain?
Pickleball’s growth in Spain has been terrific. I remain in close contact with my former SPA team who now run the Association, and they tell me that membership is consistently increasing. Spain has sunny, warm weather and an amazing history with tennis and padel (a sport similar to platform tennis). With tennis legend Rafa Nadal and new star Carlos Alcaraz, racquet sports are part of the Spanish lifestyle. An increasing number of permanent pickleball courts is enabling Spaniards as well as travelers visiting Spain to play throughout the country. Growth of pickleball in the US continues to propel the growth overseas, and we’ve had several pickleball ambassadors and pros visit us to share their expertise, among them Jennifer Lucore, Marcin Rozpedski, Irina Tereschenko, Daniel Moore, Dave Weinbach, Jeff Shank and Kyle Yates.

Pickleball Clinic in Spain led by Pro Marcin Rozpedski
Pickleball Clinic in Spain led by Pro Marcin Rozpedski

What type of pickleball events and organizations are there in Spain?
We started the Spanish Open Pickleball Championships in 2015 which is held every September and this year will be part of the APP tour. It’s an international event that draws players from around the world. The SPA has done a great job expanding the sport by establishing regional associations. Every year there is an increasing number of places to play, trained coaches, clubs, tournaments, school programs, ambassadors and media coverage. The SPA has also initiated a program with the European Union called “Pickle4all” to promote pickleball as an inclusive sport in multiple European countries. It’s exciting the see the sport expand in so many ways since we began in 2012.

Medal winners of the Spanish Open Pickleball Championships
Medal winners of the Spanish Open Pickleball Championships

Tell us about the pickleball tours you’ve organized in Spain.
For years pickleball players from the US and Canada asked me to organize pickleball vacations in Spain so they could come and enjoy the incredible sites, history and culture of Spain, as well as play plenty of pickleball on the trip. It was a unique opportunity to combine two of my greatest passions – Spain and pickleball. In 2014 I began organizing tours in Madrid and Barcelona for players of all levels. People from all over the US and Canada have joined the tours and had an amazing experience.

Mike with travelers enjoying the sites on one of the Pickleball Spain Tours
Mike with travelers enjoying the sites on one of the Pickleball Spain Tours

Are people traveling to Spain again?
Fortunately Spain has fully reopened for travel and tourism is booming right now, so I’m excited to finally offer tours again and have two scheduled for September of 2022. Our next pickleball tour is in Southern Spain, the region called Andalusia. It’s a unique part of the world with great weather and incredible sites to explore. All of the tour details are available at www.pickleballtourspain.com.

Now that you’re no longer president of the association, how are you involved?
I talk regularly with Roberto Perez, the current SPA President, about opportunities they’re involved with and considering. Because I travel frequently between the US and Europe, I offer a unique perspective on pickleball’s development. I’ve learned that outside of North America, a key factor impacting pickleball’s growth is the availability of referees. Spain and Europe simply don’t have trained referees and this severely limits their ability to host sanctioned tournaments. This year I obtained my referee credentials from USAPA so I can start training referees in Spain and Europe. My trainer was Teri Carter, the USAPA Certified Referee Coordinator for the West, and she was amazing. Now I’m working with the SPA to develop a pool of referees with training and on-court experience, and I look forward to expanding that base in other European countries as well. I also completed the PPR instructor course this year to improve my coaching skills. I learned a lot from both training programs. It can be challenging to teach in different languages, but I’ve learned that sport is a universal language, and pickleball is a great platform for bringing different cultures together.

Mike receiving his referee credentials from trainer Teri Carter, USAPA Certified Referee Coordinator for the West
Mike receiving his referee credentials from trainer Teri Carter, USAPA Certified Referee Coordinator for the West

JOOLA Enters Pickleball With a Bang and Partners With the World’s #1 Ranked Player: Ben Johns!

The first pickleball paddles were actually intended for table tennis, and now the industry is joined by a company with years of expertise in this influential sport: JOOLA. Starting off with a bang, JOOLA is releasing a series of paddles in partnership with #1 Men’s Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles player Ben Johns. The lineup is full of exciting technology with textured, spin-tastic surfaces, in addition to two types of polymer cores catered to either control or power-centric play styles. You can even get your hands on the paddle Ben Johns uses himself which comes with a unique foam-injected core to greatly increase stability and shock dampening qualities. We sat down with JOOLA to learn more about their company, the team, and their launch into pickleball!

Ben Johns joins JOOLA Pickleball and launches new signature paddles

Why did JOOLA decide to enter the pickleball world?

When table tennis clubs temporarily closed during the pandemic, the team at JOOLA decided to try out pickleball. It was initially just out of curiosity and to get some exercise outdoors. The team was instantly hooked! JOOLA brings 70 years of expertise in table tennis equipment research and innovation. Further research into pickleball allowed JOOLA to quickly find similarities in paddle construction and apply its innovation and technology to pickleball. JOOLA wants to be at the forefront of driving additional global growth and developing the next generation of equipment. 

JOOLA Pickleball launches 8 New Paddles with Pickleball Central

You have had tremendous success in Ping Pong, what have you learned there that you think will transfer to pickleball?

Our company has table tennis players from all levels of the sport, from beginners to Olympians. This gives us a wide perspective to understand our customer base to reach the grassroots players, home recreational players, and players on the high-performance track. We are taking a similar approach towards pickleball where we have immersed ourselves into playing the sport, consuming the great content the pro tours are putting out there, and meeting all the great people along the way. We truly are connecting to the entire pickleball world and building a connection with all the great people no matter where in their pickleball journey they are at.

Can you talk about each paddle in this launch?

We have a wide variety of paddles for every pickleball player from the beginner to the advanced competitor. Each paddle series in the JOOLA lineup offers a unique head shape, purposely designed to appeal to players with various playing styles. A common element throughout the entire JOOLA line is the Sure-Grip technology, which is a perforated anti-slip ridge grip that reduces moisture and helps increase shock absorption. Balance and performance are a key focus throughout the entire line.

Solaire Series – The Solaire series offers two paddles that are quite different in performance but with the same performance shape that creates a strong combination of power and feel. The Solaire FAS 13 offers a Fiberglass Abrasion Surface for more direct power and the Solaire CFS 14 is designed with the Carbon Friction Surface for maximizing spin, with a well-balanced amount of power and control. The Carbon Forged handle and HyperFoam Technology is incorporated within the Solaire CFS 14, making it a true game changer.

JOOLA Solaire FAS 13 Composite Paddle
JOOLA Solaire CFS 14 Composite Paddle

Vision Series – A lighter, more aggressive, elongated paddle shape with tremendous control, feel, and spin. If spin is a critical element to your game, JOOLA’s Carbon Grip Surface will help you maximize your shot potential. Comes in a 14mm and 16mm core.

JOOLA Vision CGS 14 Graphite Paddle and JOOLA Vision CGS 16 Graphite Paddle

Radius Series – Bringing JOOLA’s heritage to pickleball with a table tennis inspired shape offering the largest edge to edge sweet spot. This paddle incorporates the Carbon Grip Surface for exceptional spin and the rounded paddle head offers an incredible amount of control. This paddle was designed to offer tremendous touch, making it ideal for dinking, blocking, or hitting controlled shots. (Coming soon)

JOOLA Radius CGS 16 Graphite Paddle

Ben Johns Hyperion SeriesThree unique paddles make up this series. The Ben Johns Hyperion CAS 13.5 offers a thinner core for more power and the Ben Johns Hyperion CAS 16 is designed for more control. Both of these models come with the Carbon Abrasion Surface with a sand-blasted textured surface for more spin. JOOLA’s innovative Hybrid-Ply technology creates a paddle that takes advantage of carbon and fiberglass characteristics when you want to hit soft or hard.

JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CAS 13.5 Graphite Paddle
JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CAS 16 Graphite Paddle

The Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 is our most advanced paddle specially designed and engineered to perform at the highest levels in all categories of control, power, and spin with an unmatched consistency anywhere you hit the ball on the face of the paddle. The Carbon Forged handle and HyperFoam Technology is incorporated within the Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16, making it a true game changer.

JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS 16 Graphite Paddle

Shop all JOOLA Paddles

Your paddles have unique shape – the Solaire, Vision and Hyperion with the rounded top and the Radius is very round – what advantage does this give to the playability of your paddles?

The Aero-curve technology is a head curvature design, inspired by many other paddle/racket sports to reduce drag and allow the player to maximize their swing speed, which leads to more power. This rounded design allows players to get to their shots faster and place trust in their own abilities to meet the ball timely and improve their game.

The Solaire CFS and the Ben John’s Hyperion CFS both have the HyperFoam Edge tech. What is it and what affect does it have on the paddle?

The HyperFoam Edge Technology is another innovation from JOOLA to improve the overall performance, stability, and consistency in a paddle. In most polymer honeycomb cores, the edges or the perimeter of the paddle, where it is cut to shape, becomes weaker, often leading to the ball not bouncing off as well or feels “dead”. JOOLA has solved this problem by inserting a specialized foam that expands and fills the honeycomb cells around the perimeter of the paddle leading to a consistent edge to edge performance and an enhanced sweet spot.

Ben Johns and his New Paddle with JOOLA Pickleball

You have a Carbon Abrasion Surface, a Carbon Grip Surface and a Carbon Friction Surface, how do they differ?

JOOLA Pickleball Paddle Surface Technology explained

The Carbon Abrasion Surface utilizes a multi-step, sand-blasting process, creating a unique, textured surface for increased spin.

The Carbon Grip Surface technology utilizes a durable, long-lasting Carbon Flex3 textured surface that grips the ball to create more spin on every serve, drive, and dink. The natural state of the carbon material, along with JOOLA’s specialized manufacturing process helps generate more spin. 

The Carbon Friction Surface technology utilities the next generation of materials to generate maximum spin performance. A more advanced, durable, longer lasting Carbon-Flex5 textured surface, harnesses raw power while also creating an unparalleled spin rotation on the ball and a very crisp feel on the shots that matter the most.

Which do you feel provides the most spin?

Spin generation certainly begins from the surface material, but it also is a factor of the composition of the paddle. Carbon material allows for more flex in the surface which increases dwell time. That increased surface dwell time when the ball hits the surface allows for our paddles to generate more spin than other similar paddles on the market.  The Carbon Grip Surface and Carbon Friction Surface technology paddles generate the most spin within the JOOLA lineup.

What type of player do you think will enjoy these paddles?

With 12 meticulously crafted and unique paddles at launch, whether you are a new player just getting into pickleball for the first time or a seasoned rec player playing multiple times a week or you are playing at the highest pro level at national tournaments, there is a paddle within the JOOLA assortment we feel would be best for you! New technology and innovation has been incorporated into each of our paddle designs for the sole purpose of helping players play their best game. A new era of next generation equipment is here!

Shop all JOOLA Paddles

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

The leadership team at JOOLA has completely fallen in love with pickleball playing 4-5 days a week, sometimes even playing before work, during lunch, and after work in a single day. We have truly become addicted to this amazing sport like many pickleball players do, and that is because this sport can be so much fun at whatever level you are starting at. JOOLA has always been a market leader and innovator in table tennis, and with our global footprint we hope to use our reach to help spread the pickleball craze worldwide! Come say hi to any of our team, we’ll be visiting communities and events nationwide!

We are thrilled to welcome JOOLA to the pickleball world and excited to see what they continue to do in this space. Still not sure which one you should get or want to know more about a certain paddle? Call us at 1-888-854-0163. Nothing makes us happier than helping you find a paddle that fits your game. Buy with confidence, knowing you have a 30-day test drive to make sure it works on the courts – where it counts.

Pickleball Becomes Washington States Official Sport

The bill was signed by Gov. Inslee on March 28th at the original Pickleball Court in Bainbridge, WA

Pickleball is a home-grown Washington State creation. No other place on the planet has the deep-rooted connection to pickleball that we here in Washington enjoy.  Washington will someday be known as the birthplace of Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Pickleball. Tourists will travel to Bainbridge Island to see the first pickleball court and visit the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum’s pickleball exhibit. On Monday March 28th,  Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed a declaration making pickleball the official sport of Washington State! 

Gov. Inslee signs the bill making Pickleball the official sport of Washington State

You may already know the pickleball origin story:  In a backyard on Bainbridge Island,  three friends (Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum) invented the game during the summer of 1965.

Pickleball in the early 70’s on one of the original courts in Washington

They made up rules and introduced the game to neighbors.  At the close of summer, the game jumped the Puget Sound to Seattle.  From there it spread south to Tacoma and east to Spokane. Snowbirds brought it to Arizona and Southern California. It took over 55 years but pickleball is now the fastest growing sport on the planet with millions of players around the world.  The International Federation of Pickleball has 68 member countries and growing!  Campaigns are underway to make pickleball an Olympic sport.  

But, do you know:

  • The first pickleball paddles, balls, and net systems were invented in Washington State.
    Barney McCallum, one of the game’s inventors, used his jigsaw to cut the first plywood paddles. As demand grew, he incorporated and created the first pickleball company, Pickleball Inc.  Barney was an entrepreneur and built McCallum Envelope Company. He knew how to manufacture and sell products.  Barney designated a small section of his Ballard warehouse for Pickleball Inc.’s inventory of paddles and balls, and began shipping products to pickleball customers.  At first whiffle balls were used to play pickleball, but they broke easily and had a short life span, so Barney invented the “Dura Pickleball,” a durable ball that is still a leading pickleball.  As interest and demand grew, consumers sought pickleball nets. Barney invented the first pickleball nets and first portable net systems.
An early addition of a pickleball paddle
  • The world’s  1st  pickleball company was in Washington State – Pickleball Inc.
  • The world’s  2nd pickleball company, Ultra-Lite Paddle Company, subsequently called ProLite Sports, was in Washington State and founded by Arlen Paranto.
  • The world’s  3rd pickleball company, Pickleball Stuff, was in Washington State and founded by Fran and Barney Myer.
  • The world’s 4th pickleball company, S-Type Sports (later sold to ONIX Sports), was in Washington State and founded by Steve Wong.
  • The world’s first pickleball tournaments were in Washington State.
  • The world’s  first “National” tournament was in Washington State.
  • The world’s first pickleball corporate sponsors, Vlasic Foods and Budweiser Beer, were for events in Washington State.  
  • The world’s first pickleball governing body, The United States Amateur Pickleball Association (USAPA), was launched in Washington State.  Sid Williams was the founder and first president.  
  • The world’s first pickleball rule sheets/booklets were created in Washington State by Washingtonians.  
  • The world’s first pickleball school PE program was launched in Washington State.
  • The world’s first composite pickleball paddle was invented in Washington State by Arlen Paranto.
    Arlen and his son Steve Paranto were frustrated by the heavy weight of wood paddles so wanted to come up with new paddle technology. Arlen purchased panels from the Boeing Surplus Store in Kent and began experimenting. The composite paddles he crafted out of those Boeing panels is essentially the same technology used in most composite pickleball paddles today – a honeycomb core sandwiched between layers of fiberglass or graphite/carbon fiber.
Arlen and Steve Paranto with a PROLITE Paddle
PickleballCentral.com Headquarters in Kent, WA

We are delighted and proud to have been a part of this effort. Special thanks to the unstoppable Kate Van Gent for leading the charge to make pickleball Washington’s official sport. Congratulations to all the Washington State pickleball players who voiced their passion.  Way to go Washington! 

6 Pickleball New Year’s Resolutions You Can Do In 2022

Pickleball Resolutions from 2022

With the turn of the new year it is always nice to have some things to look forward to. Maybe you’re looking to level up your game this year, spend more time with family and friends, stay active and focus on health in a FUN way, or challenge yourself. Whether you’re newly introduced to pickleball or have been playing much longer, we have some ideas for everyone.

Resolution #1: Commit to Practice!

In 2021 we saw lots of great pickleball gear aimed for practice. The best way to become a better player is often the simplest. Whether it’s playing a practice game or drilling specific skills, you always have the ability to improve through hard work and dedication. Of course, certain training aids can make the process easier as well.

Ball Machines: The two pickleball machines we carry, the Tutor and Lobster, allow you to practice more easily without a partner by sending lobs, spin shots and dinks your way.

Pickleballs: GAMMA released a Two-Tone Outdoor Training Pickleball that helps to show how the ball is spinning so you can practice both receiving and doling out spin shots.

GAMMA Pickleball Two Tone Training Outdoor Balls

The Pickleball Eye Coach helps you improve ball strike placement, visual focus and foot positioning.

Pickleball Eye Coach
Pickleball Training Tools

Resolution #2: Attend a Pickleball Festival

Pickle Palooza is a one-of-a-kind event that offers all the thrills of a tournament without the stress of competition. Located in Mesa, AZ, this fun annual event runs from March 4-6 this year at Bell Bank Park. There will be court exhibitions and interviews with the pros, skill-based open play, paddle demos, one-on-one instruction, and entertainment. It’s the perfect excuse for players to share in some pickleball-centric fun, and with enjoyable activities in the surrounding area (such as the Phoenix zoo, art museum and botanical gardens), you can make a great vacation out of it.

Resolution #3: Upgrade your Paddle

We have seen several major innovations in paddle technology in 2021 with some new heavy hitters joining the scene. If you’ve been playing with the same paddle for a while it might be time to experiment with others. Here are a few that we suggest looking into:

Aeroshot Paddles from Oneshot Pickleball – Oneshot released two new paddles with their innovative new Airflow Technology to create vents in the sides of the paddle for reduced drag and increased hand speed.

Aeroshot Paddles from Oneshot Pickleball

The Warrior Paddle from Diadem – The thickest paddle on the market, this 19mm core paddle has the softest touch ever, with a highly gritty surface that enhances spin shots, and plenty of power.

Warrior Paddle from Diadem

New line of Paddles from ProXR – ProXR Pickleball recently launched their first line of pickleball paddles with their unique, patented, ergonomically designed handles that improve reload speed and exit velocity.

ProXR Pickleball

New line of Paddles from adidas – This heavy hitter in the sports market entered pickleball with a range of new paddles to suit all skill levels and play preferences.

adidas Pickleball

VANGUARD 2.0 from Selkirk – Selkirk’s VANGUARD Hybrid 2.0 series feature their new Pro-Spin Texture for more spin than ever before and their new Gen2 durable surface.

CX11 and CX14 Paddles from Gearbox – The all-new CX-11 and CX-14 paddles from Gearbox bring years of innovation in paddle design to a whole new level, with a shape and core thickness for every player.

Learn about our FREE 30-Day Paddle Test Drive: Our 100% Happy Return Policy!

Resolution #4: Introduce a friend of family member to Pickleball

We all can agree that the reason we fell in love with Pickleball in the first place is because it is FUN! This sport is growing at a rapid pace and we are excited to see what the future holds. Who are you going to invite on this wild ride with us in 2022? It can be a friend, family member, coworker or neighbor but we all know once they get the feel for it they wont want to put it down! This might seem like the “easiest” resolution of them all but it is certainly one of the most important to help flourish our Pickleball Community!

Resolution #5: Play in a tournament 

Competition isn’t for everyone, but even if you’re a fairly laid-back player, participating in a tournament can be a great way to strengthen your abilities, make new friends and take part in the greater pickleball community. Tournaments are the perfect excuse to knuckle down on training and come out the other side knowing you played your best. There are also a number of exciting new tours taking place this year that will serve to bring pickleball to an even broader audience, so taking part in one of them will truly have you becoming part of the sport’s history!

A few exciting upcoming tournaments that we recommend include:

  1. Atlantic City Open
  2. PPA Indoor National Championships
  3. APP Punta Gorda
  4. PPA Red Rock
  5. APP Delray Beach

Resolution #6: Improve your grip in more ways than one

Sometimes you might want a little extra tack to improve your hold on your paddle, or need to replace a grip that had worn down over time. Other players who get particularly sweaty hands appreciate the benefits that highly absorbent grips provide. Fortunately it’s quite easy to switch your grip (see how here) or layer an overgrip on top of your grip to provide better feel. Grips also provide a great opportunity to add a little flair to your paddle with fun colors and designs.

Pickleball Paddle Grips

Alternately, if you want to keep your handle as-is but learn new ways to improve how you hold your paddle, you may want to experiment with different (hand) grip techniques to see how they affect your ability to make different shots. You can explore various ways to hold your paddle by watching this video with Glen Peterson.

PROLITE Sports: The company that changed Pickleball

We recently chatted with Neil Friedenberg of PROLITE Sports Pickleball about PROLITE’s past and present. The first company to begin making paddles out of modern non-wood materials, PROLITE revolutionized paddle technology and continues to be an industry leader developing innovative paddles for players of all types.

PROLITE Sports Pickleball
Owner and President of PROLITE Sports; Neil Friedenerg

Can you tell us about the history of the PROLITE company?

The PROLITE company was originally founded by Arlen and Steve Paranto. Arlen was a Boeing engineer and his son, Steve Paranto, was an avid tennis player and physical education teacher who took up pickleball in its early days. Steve was famously known for analyzing the weight ratio of a tennis racquet compared to a tennis ball and then analyzing the wood pickleball paddles available in the beginning compared to the weight of a pickleball Using this ratio, they determined that wood paddles were way too heavy, and that the honeycomb panels at Arlen could obtain at Boeing would work well to create a lighter paddle.

Their resulting paddle technology innovation revolutionized the equipment and the game. The feel of the new lighter paddles was exceptional, and led to the importance of dinking, more strategy, and longer rallies.  With this new technology, Arlen and Steve Paranto created PROLITE Sports in 1984 – at the time, Ultra Paddle Company. Both Arlen and Steve have been inducted into the Pickleball Hall of Fame due to their significant contributions to the growth of the sport.

Today PROLITE Sports Pickleball is well known as the legacy brand of pickleball. Nearly forty years old, PROLITE was not only the first company to transform the paddle industry, we also introduced woven carbon fiber paddles to the pickleball market. PROLITE’s most important distinguishing characteristic is our philosophy. We believe that what makes the sport of pickleball special and has led to its increasing worldwide popularity and attention are the everyday recreational players…the 99%ers! That is what PROLITE is all about.

PROLITE Sports Pickleball History
Steve and Arlen Paranto playing Pickleball at their lake house
PROLITE Sports Pickleball Arlen Paranto
Arlen Paranto (inductee of Pickleball Hall Of Fame) and founder of PROLITE Sports

What are the most popular paddles in your lineup? 

The most popular paddles are our Black Diamond Series, which includes the Supernova Pro, Rebel Pro, Titan Pro, Large Titan Edition, and Cypher Pro. These are woven carbon fiber models in a variety of shapes to perfectly fit any player’s sports background. The Black Diamond Series is very unique. Before it came out, most other paddles developed for imparting spin typically emphasized texture and roughness of the paddle face. We approached things a bit differently, focusing on dwell time on the paddle, creating absorption of the ball, and enhancing the ability to maneuver the ball where you want, especially at slower speeds (for example rolling dinks at your opponent’s feet or hitting aggressive, angled dinks creating that next put-away).

Many people are surprised because the surface of the Black Diamond Series paddles appears to be smooth, but much more is going on. Carbon fibers begin to fray over time. Imagine looking under the microscope and seeing these little fibers raised above the surface of the paddle. Those fibers work to grab the ball, which causes friction and can create more spin.  It really is amazing.

PROLITE Sports Pickleball Black Diamond Series Paddles
PROLITE Sports Black Diamond Series Pickleball Paddles

How did your dad get the nickname “Yoda”?

My dad Mark Friedenberg (author of the book Winning Pickleball) was inducted into the Pickleball Hall of Fame a few years ago.  It was well deserved just for the fact that he saw how beneficial this game was to people’s lives so he started introducing the sport into new communities. He was also a skilled player and began competing and putting the time into getting better. “Yoda” came about when he was playing one day against some much younger competition and they sarcastically called him “Grandpa”. Then he cleaned their clocks and the name Yoda caught on.

PROLITE Sports Pickleball, Mark Friedenberg and Neil Friedenberg
Mark (Yoda), Neil (Owner and President of PROLITE) and Erick Friedenberg

If Pickleball had walk in songs like Baseball does, what would be your song?
I can’t help but think of how Ken Griffey Jr. walked up to the plate at the Kingdome when I was young. He had the Hip-Hop Hooray beat by Naughty by Nature. Rage Against the Machine gets me pretty pumped up. No Shelter is a great song, so I would have to say No Shelter by Rage Against the Machine – it gets me ultra-focused and the heart pumping.

What’s next for PROLITE?

We’re on the brink of some exciting brand-new technology yet to be implemented in paddles. We also see the influx of new players coming into the sport and our goal is always to ensure that players of all levels have a specific PROLITE paddle to swing that fits their individual performance needs. PROLITE is dedicated to the sport of pickleball and the everyday player, and our customers will always continue to be our focus.

Explore PROLITE’s paddle lineup and learn more here.

Oneshot Launches New Pickleball Paddles Designed With Aero Flow Technology

Oneshot Pickleball is family owned and operated

Two families bonding over a game of pickleball, having fun with a little friendly competition, and it didn’t take long before they were hooked! Most of us can relate to a story like this – a family member, a friend, neighbor or maybe colleague introduced us to the world of pickleball and it didn’t take long before we were hitting them up to play again.

Their passion for pickleball translated into a desire to create their own pickleball paddles and that is how Oneshot Pickleball was formed. The Lui and Montes Family set out to design a unique yet simple series of paddles for youth up to pro, and have succeeded and even excelled.

Introducing Aero Flow Technology

The newest launch is one of their most exciting to date! On 9/29/21 Oneshot launched 2 paddles with Aero Flow technology, introducing the first commercially available paddles with an aerodynamic component.

The two paddles launched with this technology are the Proshot Graphite Paddle and the Powershot Composite Paddle.

The face of these two paddles has four curved cut-outs on each side. Tested in a Belgium lab, this design was shown to reduce the drag on the paddle by 2%. That may not sound like a lot, but is actually a huge decrease in aerodynamic drag reduction!

When we spoke with Oscar Montes, co-owner of Oneshot, we asked him what he sees as the biggest benefit to the Areo Flow Technology. He said, “the most significant benefit is less drag which translates into faster swings, therefore more power and control. Another benefit that relates to the drag factor is more player stamina; having to swing repeatedly with less effort could have a serious impact on long days of play.”

When asked how long they’d been working on this unique paddle design, Oscar said it started in a garage in 2019. “We drew some prototype sketches on paper and a few weeks later used basic power tools to make a few physical prototypes. Later, we proceeded into the data collection stage which included running our new paddles through wind tunnels and analyzing the results.” 

Which Oneshot paddle is right for you?

When deciding which paddle is the best fit for your game Oscar says, “the Proshot is usually selected by players looking for control and a good feel for the ball at the kitchen line. The Powershot caters to those looking for more power and that might have some racquet sport background.”

Whichever paddle you choose, you will definitely stand out on the pickleball courts! For the team at Oneshot, “paddle color matters to us as much as design; we put a lot of time and effort into each of our paddles to make sure we are offering a clean and modern look. The new Aero paddles reflect a mix of our favorite colors.”

You’ll find these paddles in PickleballCentral’s Oneshot category.

Bonus question from our conversation with the founders of Oneshot:

Other than your paddle, what’s your one piece of gear you can’t live without?

• The Montes family: Definitely a diaper bag; we travel everywhere with our 2 kids!

• The Lui family: Snacks…we like to eat!

What is your answer to that question?

If you’re not sure which paddle would be best for you or want to know more, call us at 1-888-854-0163. Nothing makes us happier than helping you find a paddle that fits your game. You can purchase with confidence, knowing you have a 30-day test drive to make sure it works on the courts – that’s where it counts.

Adidas Enters Pickleball With A New Line Of Paddles For Every Player

New Sport. Same Attitude.

For more than seventy years, adidas has excelled when it comes to leading innovation in sports. We are excited to announce that adidas has launched their first line of pickleball paddles in 2021! With growing recognition and excitement around pickleball, we are seeing some major brands take notice. This new line of paddles brings their spirit of performance to pickleball with 8 paddles for a range of all player types, from beginners to pros.

Adidas is using materials new to the sport to hit the ground running with some high-level performance paddles.

Let’s take a closer look:

adidas ADIPOWER Pickleball Paddles

ADIPOWER Range

Featuring 2 Paddles

  • New carbon aluminized face material for a unique feel 
  • Two shapes for different styles of play – ATTK and CTRL 
  • Adidas quality entering pickleball 

What happens when you combine the rigidity of carbon fiber with the softness of aluminum? You get the face of the ADIPOWER paddles. This gives the paddle a depth not seen in other paddles. From the soft game to the power game these paddles just feel and play a little different. There is very little feedback through the paddle and shots are consistent and controlled.   

ESSNOVA CARBON Range

Featuring 3 paddles

  • 3K carbon face provides great control on all models 
  • 2 shapes and 2 core densities provide a wide range of play characteristics 
  • Exciting technology enhances durability and play – structural reinforcement and Spin Blade technology 

The ESSNOVA CARBON finds a different way to combine power and control. The shape of the ESSNOVA ATTK is slightly elongated, adding more whip to your shots. The balanced ESSNOVA CTRL paddles come in two different core densities. The low density has more give, thus a little more pop off the face. The high density is more rigid, spreading out the sweet spot and adding another dimension of control.  

RX Range

Featuring 2 paddles

  • Consistent play and feel for these intermediate paddles 
  • Your choice of high density (control) or low density (power) cores  
  • Classic shape and weight range  

The RX44 and the RX20 are intermediate level paddles that perform. This series utilizes a fiberglass face to help those who want to keep their serves and returns deep. The RX44 has a high density core for to help temper the bounce of the fiberglass. The RX20 has a low density core to multiple the fiberglass effect. Both paddles are in the traditional shape. 

Drive Range

Featuring 1 paddle

  • Fiberglass face for pop 
  • Carbon-reinforced frame for durability 
  • Comfortable non slip grip 

The Drive is an entry level paddle that comes in a slightly smaller shape. There are many of the same technologies used in the higher end adidas paddles that make this paddle a winner at this price. It will provide enough power as you start your pickleball journey through the use of a fiberglass face and the low density core.   

You’ll find these paddles exclusively at PickleballCentral.

Still not sure which one you should get or want to know more about a certain paddle? Call us at 1-888-854-0163. Nothing makes us happier than helping you find a paddle that fits your game. Buy with confidence, knowing you have a 30-day test drive to make sure it works on the courts – where it counts.

Shop all adidas paddles.

The Kalins Grow Pickleball in SE Florida

  Boynton Beach Pickleball Club

Do you love pickleball and want to see it grow in your community? Harriet Berks Kalin and her husband Josh Kalin have been very successful in their efforts to grow a pickleball community.  In just eight months, they have inspired 100 people to start playing pickleball in SE Florida!

Harriet and Josh live in Delray, Florida, about 40 minutes north of Ft. Lauderdale. After they retired, they moved to Florida from the northeastern United States.  At first, retirement simply meant no longer working. On a visit to The Villages in central Florida they were introduced to pickleball. They fell in love with the game and started a new chapter of their lives as Pickleball Ambassadors for the USA Pickleball Association.

The Kalins purchased their own portable net system and began looking for places to set the net up and play pickleball. Harriet enrolled others to help her contact community centers and parks and recreation centers all over SE Florida! Harriet offered pickleball demonstrations an clinics.  She told program directors how wonderful pickleball is and how easy it is to set up a pickleball court using a portable net system and some temporary court lines.

Harriet got a great response!

More and more courts were created and more and more people began to show up for pickleball!

The Boca Raton parks department painted permanent pickleball court lines on a basketball court to make it multi use. Palm Beach County Rec Department will be painting 6 permanet pickleball courts at Caloosa Park inside the hockey rinks at Boynton Beach, Florida. Delray Beach is considering adding even more courts.

The Kalins know that pickleball is a social sport. As more people play pickleball, more people love the game and share it with their friends.  New players are showing up at pickleball courts in Jupiter, Delray and Palm Beach, Florida.

The Kalins believe that, “Once you become addicted to pickleball, you want everyone to play.”  The trick to growing pickleball is to get people to see and play the game.

Josh and Harriet have some tips for getting pickleball going in your community:

  1. Ambassador – Join the USA Pickleball Association and become a Pickleball Ambassador.
  2. Local Media – contact your local newspaper or TV station and invite them to do a story on pickleball.
  3. Network – talk to everyone about pickleball. There is great value in good old fashion word of mouth.
  4. Polite – Always be polite when you approach a new community about pickleball. Ask permission to give a demonstration or start a pickleball group.
  5. Tennis – Contact tennis clubs and groups about pickleball. Offer to do a demonstration for their members. Several pickleball courts can fit on a tennis court. There is a great opportunity for these clubs to benefit from reaching out to the pickleball community and increase the usage of their facilities. Many people who no longer play tennis are very interested in pickleball. Pickleball can be a way for tennis organizations to expand their offerings.
  6. Portable Net System is KEY – a portable net system was crucial to the Kalin’s success. They learned that the most important pickleball player is the one who owns the portable net system!