Have y’all heard about pickleball? If you haven’t, it’s kind of a big dill. Pickleball shares similarities with tennis, table tennis + badminton (as well as other paddle ball sports). It has official rules, regulations, and even its own organization — the USA Pickleball Association. Here’s the lowdown on the game so you don’t find yourself in a pickle:
- It can be played indoors or outdoors.
- The court is badminton-sized (20’ x 44’) with a modified tennis net.
- The pickleball itself is made of plastic + has holes, like a wiffleball. The paddle is a little smaller than a tennis racquet.
- It can be played as doubles or singles — that means 2-4 people, for those of us who are racquet sports-challenged.
According to Lakeland’s Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Department’s Program Coordinator, Beth Sherling, the City of Lakeland first began offering open-play pickleball just over a decade ago. These days, Lakelanders can find pickleball courts (or tennis courts lined for pickleball) at most of Lakeland’s outdoor tennis sites.
Where can you play in Lakeland?
- Kelly Recreation Complex, 404 Imperial Blvd. | Play indoor pickleball from Mon.-Fri. between 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and on Monday evenings from 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Outdoor pickleball courts are open daily from dawn until dusk — a $6 fee is applied after 5 p.m. from Mon.-Fri. or anytime lights need to be turned on.
- Simpson Park Community Center, 1725 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. | Play indoor pickleball from Mon.-Fri. between 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
- Lake Parker Park, 820 E. Robson St. | Play outdoor pickleball on one of six pickleball courts at Gate 4 (820 E. Robson St.) or on one of two tennis courts lined for pickleball at Gate 1 (910 E. Granada St.).
- Woodlake Park, 3415 New Jersey Rd. | Play outdoor pickleball on one of six unlit courts from dawn until dusk.
- If you’re interested in joining a pickleball league, this site can help you find or establish one in the Lakeland area.
Pro tip: Email Lakeland’s Recreation Division and set up a time for a staff member or Lakeland’s current tennis professional, Cy Smith of the United States Professional Tennis Association, to be on-site to show you the ropes.