We can’t get enough of pickleball! Here’s where to play

By: Mark Bello | July 11, 2022

Are you a former tennis player looking for a new way to get some exercise this summer and beyond? Is the size of a tennis court or the skill and mobility needed to play too difficult for you? Or perhaps you’re just someone looking for a fun, new, relatively easy game to play. You might want to try pickleball.

Pickleball is a fun sport for people of all ages, growing in popularity across the United States and Canada. The game is played on a court roughly a quarter size of a tennis court. Like tennis, you can play singles or doubles on the same court. Many people play on makeshift courts, converting existing tennis or badminton courts. Beginners can even purchase a pickleball “kit” from the local sporting goods store and set up a makeshift court in a parking lot. (The location must be flat, deserted, and well maintained-debris free).

 

The net should be 36 inches from side to side, sagging to 34 inches in the middle. The court is striped with right and left service courts and 7-foot non-volley zones known as “the kitchen.” The ball can only bounce once before a player hits it and must bounce before an opposite player may to step into the kitchen to hit it. A player who receives and hits a ball in the air loses the point if they “step into the kitchen.”

Remember the wiffleball? Pickleball is played with a hard, wiffleball-styled ball (with holes in it), and a dedicated solid wood, graphite, or aluminum paddle, larger than a ping pong paddle, but smaller than a tennis racquet. These may be purchased at any local sporting goods store.  The game may be played indoors or out—outdoors, the quality of play may be affected by the weather, as wind will blow the ball around and even light rain quickly makes the concrete or asphalt surface too slippery to play. Balls come for indoor and outdoor use, in a variety of colors—whatever color you choose, it must be solid.

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People play pickleball at all levels, for fun, exercise, even serious competition. Believe it or not, there are professional associations that sanction tournaments and players, and professionals that play for money. The game is easier on the body than tennis (less ground to cover) but features sudden stops, turns, and lunges that carry a risk of injury, sometimes serious injury. Here are some tips to avoid injury:

  • Try not to backpedal
  • Survey the court, before play begins, and not obstacles like poles, fences, or grooves.
  • As with all sports, develop a pre-game warm-up and stretching routine.
  • Wear proper equipment. Tennis shoes, protective eyewear, knee, and elbow pads are suggested.
  • Know your limits. Don’t try to exceed them—a single point is not worth the risk of injury. Take breaks and hydrate.
  • Most people play doubles. Communicate with your partner to avoid confusion and collisions during the game.
  • Wear sunscreen and a hat when playing outdoors.
  • NEVER PLAY ON A WET COURT!

Above all, the game is fun, easy to learn, addictive, and one that can be played at all levels. In the D has identified 15 public courts in and around the Metro area. Some of these may require payment of a small fee. Here’s our list:

  • The Hawk: 29995 W. 12 Mile Road, Farmington Hills
  • Civic Center Park: 23101 Hall Road, Woodhaven
  • Neil Reid Park: 37705 Harper Ave. Clinton Township
  • Bicentennial Park: 36000 W. Seven Mile Road, Livonia
  • Clinton Township Senior Center: 40730 Romeo Plank Road, Clinton Township
  • Upton Park: 4350 Mandalay Ave., Royal Oak
  • Drake Sports Park: 6821 Drake Road, West Bloomfield
  • Redwood Park: 750 Redwood Drive, Troy
  • Atlas Tube Recreation Centre: 447 Renaud Road, Lakeshore
  • 11 Mile-Huntington Park: 686 W. Eleven Mile Road, Huntington Woods
  • Vreeland Park: Quarry Road @ Vreeland Street, Riverview
  • F.O.P Park: Lindbergh Street, Wyandotte
  • Whittier Park: 813 Farnum Ave, Royal Oak
  • Shawanoe Park: 13150 St. Gregory’s Road, Tecumseh
  • Zekelman Pickleball Complex: 590 Lacasse Blvd., Windsor

Now, get out there and play!

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