Playing pickleball in Lakeland, FL

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

What sounds better than a sunny day on the pickleball court?

Image via Google Maps

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 singlesthat 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.

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