pickleball and pickle

What’s the Relationship Between Pickleball and Pickles?

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Pickleball is quickly becoming a famous sport because of its beginner-friendly playstyle and interesting gameplay. But the question that’s been plaguing the minds of most new players is: what’s the relationship between pickleball and pickles?

Why would a game about hitting balls with paddles be named after a fermentation process of fruits?

Don’t worry, we pickleball experts have got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about pickleball and pickles—all in one article.

History of Pickleball

Although Pickleball is only gaining popularity now, the sport actually originated back during the summer 1965. Joel Pritchard, a congressman at the time, and his friend Bill Bell was home on Bainbridge island with their children when they noticed that everyone was bored and had nothing to do. 


The group decided to play badminton on an old badminton court, but couldn’t find a shuttlecock or racquet to play with. Improvising, they decided to play with pingpong paddles and a plastic ball instead. This was the start of Pickleball.

Because of how much Joel and Bill, with their kids enjoyed the game, they decided to make the first permanent pickleball court in the backyard of Pritchard’s neighbor and friend, Bob O’Brian. If you’re wondering

History of Pickles

On the other hand, Pickles had an earlier start some 4,000 years ago when Mesopotamians started preserving cucumbers in acidic brine. While the cucumbers did end up preserved, their taste would also alter as it absorbed the acidic juices.


The reason why pickles closely associated with cucumbers even though it’s technically a process of fermentation is because for the longest time, cucumbers were the only fruits being pickled. 

Now, there are tons of pickled fruits and cuisines in the world. 

The Relationship between Pickleball and Pickles

So, how do pickles and pickleball relate to each other? What is the connection and why is it important?

To be frank, they have nothing in common. 

The name “pickleball” came from two sources. One from the founder itself and another from Joel’s neighbors who claim to have been there when he named the sport after his own dog, Pickles.

Although the name coming from the dog is a popular theory. It has been officially debunked as proof of Pickles, the dog, being born 3 years after the invention of Pickleball was provided. In fact, Pickles was named after pickleball—not the other way around.

Pickleball, according to the founder himself, Joel Pritchard, says that it came from the “pickle crew”, which is the leftover non-starters of crew races. This was in homage to the fact that pickleball was created through the combination of several types of sports.

Could you play Pickleball with Pickles?

But what if pickleball and pickles DID have something in common?

Could you play pickleball with pickles? Can you even hit pickles strong enough to land on the opposite side of the court without having the pickle mash into pieces? What would happen if you used a pickle as a paddle instead? 

These questions run through the mind of every curious and confused new pickleball player. Thankfully, you’re about to get your answers today! 

Can you use a pickle as a pickleball paddle?

Theoretically, you should be able to use a pickle as a paddle. Pickled cucumbers are generally sturdy. Especially if they’re fresh from the store and haven’t been opened in the last 7 or 14 days. Add this to the fact that pickleball is played with light, plastic balls and you can honestly throw a good serve using a pickle.

The only problem that comes to mind here would be the pickle being difficult to hold and slippery. That is, if you can even hit the ball with such a thin “paddle”. 

Can you use a pickle as a ball in pickleball?

Can you replace the lightweight, plastic ball with a pickle in pickleball? 

Yes, but only once. Unfortunately no pickle is going to survive getting hit by a paddle that’s strong enough to send it flying over tens of feet. At best, you’ll be left with a stinky paddle, two pickles lodged in separate directions, and tons of pickle juice spray all in front of the person serving. 

Do Pickles make a great Pickleball snack?

If you’ve been reading through this article and getting a kick at the satirically-written, factual review on pickles and pickleball, then keep your eye out for this one.

pickle snack
pickle snack

Pickles make a great pickleball snack. Pickled cucumbers are high in sodium, meaning they have tons of electrolytes. The same electrolytes that are in energy drinks like gatorade, red bull, and more. Outside of that, pickles also make a great snack because the incredibly sour taste will wake you up and help you focus momentarily. 

Just make sure you don’t eat too many pickles though. A full stomach of pickles pacing around the court playing pickleball is just asking to start vomiting. And, trust us, you don’t want to vomit out pickles.

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