Throughout my years playing pickleball, I have been all over my local metroplex area. I know the ins and outs of my pickleball community, but if you’re just getting started, it can be a bit frustrating finding pickleball courts and games near you. Fortunately, finding them is quick and easy and I’m going to teach you how.
The best way to find games near you
There are many ways to find open pickleball courts in your local area. But the quickest and easiest way to find a court near you is to use the USAPA smartphone app called “Places2Play”.
This app is amazing! Once you agree to give them your location information, the app will automatically show places to play pickleball near you. It even shows some basic weather information, which is quite handy! To get the app, go to the app store on your smartphone and type in “
Make sure you download the actual “Places2Play” app and not the USAPA mobile app. These are two different applications that do different things. The “Places2Play” app is the one with hundreds of reviews. Also, don’t worry, the app is 100% free!
Keep in mind, this app is for the iPhone only!
Once you download it, tap the icon and the app will launch. Once you agree to let the app find your GPS location, it will show you locations near you to play! It’s that easy!
Navigating the app
Now that you’ve got the app working, you can now rummage around and see what’s available to you. Again, make sure that the app is able to use your GPS location. If you don’t want to do that, you can just simply type your zip code or city into the search box at the top of the screen.
Now it’s time to figure out what those icons mean and what we’re dealing with.
What the icons mean
There are a bunch of different icons that you’ll see on the map. They’re a bit confusing at first, but once you get used to them, it’ll make sense.
The red, blue and orange colors have to do with whether the courts are indoor, outdoor, or a hybrid of both.
The red colored icons are indoor only locations. The orange icons are outdoor only locations. And the blue icons are a mix of both.
You’ll also notice a grey ring with a red arrow around the orange and blue icons. This is a wind barometer! This tells you what the wind will be like and what direction it’s coming from. I don’t know how often the wind information is updated in the app, but having it there gives you a general idea.
There is also some information inside the icon itself. You’ll see a regular icon, an icon with a dollar sign and an icon with a padlock.
The regular icon without any additional symbols is a location to play pickleball at that is free or accepts donations. The one with the dollar sign is a location that will cost money. And finally, the icon with the padlock is a private location.
If you want to see these icons for yourself, just click the button in the bottom right, then click the “show legend” bar and you can look at all of them from there.
Finding a game!
Now that you’ve got the lay of the land, you can use the app to find a location to go play pickleball. Keep in mind that the vast majority of these locations, especially the free ones, will be open play. This means that people will stack their paddles up in groups of four to wait for the next game. You get to play with different people which is a great way to meet new players.
Information about the location is included in the description when you click the location.
This will tell you what the pickleball schedule is, give you some basic information, tels you how much it may or may not cost and who the contact person is.
Filter it out!
Another cool feature that I want to mention in the app is the filter section. If you click the very bottom of the screen, you can filter out certain selections that you don’t want.
For example, if you don’t want to deal with the wind today, then you can deselect the outdoor selection and the map will not show outdoor pickleball!
Contact your local ambassador
One of the leading bodies for the organization and overall oversight of pickleball is the United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA). This organization does a lot to promote our sport. One of the ways it achieves this is by giving ambassadorship to certain people within a city or other type of territory that love pickleball more than you can imagine. We’re talking “I dream about pickleball” levels of obsession!
As an example, the DFW area (where I live) has tons of ambassadors. There’s a bunch for Dallas and more for all the suburbs and cities on the outskirts.
You can find a list of these ambassadors here (https://www.memberleap.com/members/directory/search_USAPA.php?ambassadors)
Contacting one of these local ambassadors is a great way to find a good place to play for
Even if you end up finding games just through the Places2Play app, I still recommend reaching out to the ambassadors and introducing yourself. It’s a great way to network. If you don’t know already, pickleball is extremely social!
Join local Facebook groups
Speaking of social! The leading platform for discussing your pickleball obsession is Facebook. The most popular group on there right now, Pickleball Forum, is the ultimate place to be.
However, if you’re looking for some local people to hook up with for some pickleball fun, then searching Facebook for some local groups is a great way to go. By finding your local Facebook group, you can expose yourself to what other people are finding and discovering on the internet. There’s tons of information out there!
You can also find other people to play with, or potentially find a league to play in once you advance your skills. Go ahead, give it a shot!
Going to your first game
I know it can be a bit nerve-wracking going to the courts for the first time by yourself. I used to be in that situation too.
The most important thing to remember is that pickleball players are some of the nicest and most gracious people I’ve ever met. We are bound together by one common thread: our deep love for pickleball. It’s not just a sport. It’s an entire world of people and we love new people!
If you’re nervous, try to find someone to go with. Better yet, find a USAPA ambassador or friend on Facebook to go with you and show you the ropes. It’ll make your first dip into pickleball so much easier!
I hope that this short guide has helped you find some pickleball courts near you! If you have any questions please leave them below! Good luck out there!