Playing pickleball in Lakeland

Ready to try your hand at America’s new favorite sport? Check out our guide to Lakeland’s indoor and outdoor pickleball courts.

An outdoor pickleball court on a sunny day

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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 ft x 44 ft) 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 who are new to racket sports.

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 Monday and Thursday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; and Sundays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Outdoor pickleball courts are open daily from dawn until dusk.
  • Simpson Park Community Center, 1725 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. | Play indoor pickleball Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Lake Parker Park, 820 E. Robson St. | Use Gate 4 to play outdoor pickleball daily, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Woodlake Park, 3415 New Jersey Rd. | Play outdoor pickleball daily, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • 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.

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