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Pickleball What and How

Combination of traditional tennis, ping-pong, and badminton, played both indoors or outdoors, with singles or doubles

Article by Chelsea Chambers

Photography by BAPA and BPC

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a combination of traditional tennis, ping-pong, and badminton. It can be played both indoors or outdoors, with singles or doubles, and is comprised of a slightly modified tennis net (pickleball nets are a bit shorter). Founded in the mid 60s, there is some debate on the origin of the name, but the most commonly accepted theory is that it was named after the pickleboat races in Washington, where the game was founded.

First played in 1965 by the Pritchard Family (Joel and Joan), Barney McCallum, their friends Bill and Tina Bell, and the Bell’s unamused teenage son, Frank. Frank was complaining that there was nothing to do on Bainbridge Island, where the families were summering, and Joel took it upon himself to create a game. Their handy friend Barney was able to help fashion the paddles and the net out of what they could find in the garage. And thus, pickleball was born!

How do you Play Pickleball?

The basic rules of pickleball are pretty straightforward: first team to 11 points wins and they must be at least 2 points ahead of the other team. There are a few particulars like:

·         When you serve, you must hold the paddle and ball below your waist and serve underhanded.

·         You serve diagonally across the court.

·         There’s a two-bounce rule, meaning each side has to let the ball bounce at least once before returning it.

·         The first serves are made from the right side of the court, and if the server scores, that player then serves from the left side.

Who are the Pickleball players of Boise?

There are plenty of places to play pickleball in Boise, but there are two main organizations in the Treasure Valley area: the Boise Area Pickleball Association (BAPA) and the Boise Pickleball Club. We had a chance to chat with a few members of these groups and get the inside scoop on pickleball in Boise!

Boise Area Pickleball Association (BAPA)

“I think most would agree the social aspect is the highlight of this sport,” shares Tracy Hardy, BAPA’s Board Secretary. “Because you play with so many different people, many lasting friendships have been made. When you approach a pickleball facility you can always hear people cackling and laughing and that is good for the heart and soul. I personally have 298 pickleball contacts in my phone!”

BAPA does so much more than just host pickleball games. The group is always looking for ways they can help out their community. BAPA has worked with challenged athletes and groups with Parkinson’s Disease. In fact, this year alone they have raised over $17,000 for the Idaho Chapter of the Challenged Athletes Foundation. They work with seniors and children, offering catered educational classes for all varieties of skill levels and abilities.

“The beauty of this sport is that you can be a purely recreational player or a total competition geek, with multiple tournament opportunities held each week across the country,” Tracy continues. “You can choose to never increase your skill level, or you can drill daily/weekly in an effort to consistently raise your rating. I don’t know of another sport that is so accessible to EVERYONE.”

For more info about BAPA, visit their website at

Boise Pickleball Club (BPC)

Formed in 2011, the Boise Pickleball Club serves to promote the growth and development of pickleball in the Boise area, and beyond. Emphasis on the “beyond.” The group recently established a sister city pickleball club relationship with the Nairobi Pickleball Club. That’s right, Nairobi as in Kenya. BPC aspires to work closely with the Nairobi club and hopefully get to the point where they can share players and continue to spread the goodness and joy of pickleball across continents.

“Our club’s greatest success has been fostering the explosive growth of this sport in Boise and the surrounding towns,” said Board President, Chris Clougherty. “Thousands of local people now play this game, compared to the few dozen who started it just a little over ten years ago. Our members each achieve success in their own individual way. Many do so by simply playing regularly, getting good exercise, and making a lot of new friends.”

Be sure not to miss a very exciting coming event this fall 2023, the Second Annual Boise Pickleball Open. “This event will be held at Settler’s Park in Meridian on September 22 – 24. As many as 300 or more players of all ages and abilities will compete in hundreds of games over that period. It is possible that this will be the largest pickleball tournament of its kind in the Treasure Valley, in part due to the $15,000 in prize money that will be offered to top players!”

To learn more about pickleball, BPC, and the upcoming tournament, check out

  • PC Boise Pickleball Club
  • PC Boise Pickleball Club
  • PC Boise Pickleball Club
  • PC: Boise Pickleball Club
  • PC Boise Pickleball Club
  • PC Boise Pickleball Club
  • PC Boise Pickleball Club
  • PC Boise Pickleball Club
  • PC Boise Pickleball Club
  • PC Boise Area Pickleball Association
  • PC Boise Area Pickleball Association
  • PC: Boise Area Pickleball Association