One of the most often asked questions in pickleball is, “How did the name come about.”

While numerous accounts have been given, the most romanticized version of them all has been validated by the original pickleballer himself, Barney McCallum. Back in the summer of 1965, Barney and two of his good friends, Bill Bell and Joel Pritchard, Congressman from Washington state had returned to Pritchard’s home on Bainbridge Island, outside of Seattle after a round of golf. Seeing their families sitting around, they ventured out to the backyard onto an old badminton court. Lowering the height of the net, they began hitting a plastic ball, similar to a Plastic Ball, with ping pong paddles.

Soon, the improvised game caught on with everyone, including the Pritchard’s dog, Pickles. The cocker spaniel would often grab the ball and run off with it. Much to everyone’s chagrin, play was interrupted, but the allure of the new sport was met with an overwhelming passion.  The three men created rules for the game with a clear intent that it was a sport that the whole family could enjoy. But, an official name had yet to be determined. This is where Barney’s recollection comes into clear focus. “The Pritchard’s had a dog named Pickles, and you’re having fun at a party, right? So anyway, what the heck, let’s just call it pickleball.”


Can you imagine if the dog was named Fido or Rover? “Fidoball or Roverball just doesn’t have the same panache as Pickleball, does it now?

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