At its core, pickleball is a social sport. Similar to Golf, it’s much more pleasurable to play with multiple people, not just one on one. Not only is it social, but it’s just plain fun. From a distance, it’s common to hear a series of hits then a roar of laughter and a cheer or two. There’s nothing quite like it. At this point in time, pickleball court locations are sprouting up all over the country as more people become interested in this unique sport. This is the perfect time to get involved!
However, pickleball is still a growing sport which means that it can be difficult to find a game in your local area. So how do you find a pickleball game to join? You’re about to find out!
Search on Meetup
Meetup is one of the best websites to find local communities in your area. I personally use it for more than just pickleball. Although Meetup isn’t entirely for sports or pickleball, it’s popular enough for lesser known sports communities to thrive on.
Meetup is also specifically designed to be a community organizing website. Whether you’re starting or joining a Meetup group, the website allows you to see a calendar of events, photos, locations and comments from other group members. Simply sign up at www.meetup.com, enter your info and you’ll be able to see if there’s any groups near you. Don’t see one? Start your own!
Check out the USAPA website
The USAPA (USA Pickleball Association) website can also be a great resource to find pickleball games. Under the “Places to Play” section, you can search for a pickleball location based on the state you live in. There’s also an option to search internationally. Once you select your state, you can search for your specific location to find a pickleball function. The kind of search results you get can vary. The location could be an actual pickleball (or Tennis) center or court, recreational center or even a church.
Once you’ve found a group, the website lists the information including location name, address and contact information. These locations are all user generated, so it incentivizes the listers to update the location details or to add new locations.
Another option on the USAPA website is to search for regional pickleball organizations. Under the “Places to Play” menu item is “Regional Websites” where you can find more information about your region specifically.
Check your local recreational centers
It’s common for pickleball locations to be at recreational centers since gymnasiums and tennis courts can easily be used as a pickleball court. A quick Google search will yield you a plethora of results to sift through. If you live in a city, oftentimes there will be a single website dedicated to listing all of the recreational centers in that city. Sometimes, you can find pickleball information directly on the website, or you may just need to give them a call.
Also, keep in mind that you may have to pay a small fee in order to play. If this is your first time playing, don’t worry, pickleball is worth any fee you pay!
Ask people you know
Word of mouth can be a great way to find local pickleball games and groups that aren’t being listed online. Know anyone that belongs to a country club or even a Tennis club? People who belong to these groups typically have a network of people surrounding them. Digging into their trove of connections can get you a lead on a group to join.
This is especially effective if you know someone who actually plays the sport. If you’re a beginner, and especially if you’ve never played a racket sport before, this is easily the best option for you. Head out to the court with them to check out the game. From there, you can begin developing your network of other players who are interested in pickleball.
Nervous about finding a game?
For some, joining a group of strangers to try a sport you’ve never played before can be a bit daunting. I’m here to tell you that pickleball players are some of the nicest people around. The vast majority of the groups you find will not be serious about the game nor will they be too competitive. As I mentioned above, silly mistakes and missed hits oftentimes are met with laughter and amusement, not a deluge of profanity.
Once you’ve played your first game, you will decide whether you like it or not. Chances you will and you’ll be back for more. But before you head home from your first group, don’t forget to network!
What to do once you’re finished with the group
You’re not done yet! After you’ve joined a group and played a few games, make sure you get everyone’s contact information. Building an email list of people to play is the easiest way to keep the pickleball train running. It’s a great way to meet new people, learn about the game and even improve.
Pickleball is much more fun when played with a large group of people. I’ve given you a few methods to try out, but you have any other methods please let me know in the comments! There’s a great pickleball group for you out there, you just have to go searching!