Pickleball Is Everywhere All at Once

Pickleball courts are popping up everywhere in the Queen City. Here’s everything you need to know about how and where to play.
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With more than 60 courts in our area and more coming, here are great places for pickleball newbies and near-pros.

 

Image via stock.adobe.com

The Pickle Lodge 

Nine courts at The Pickle Lodge’s massive indoor complex, the second-largest in the U.S., have been open for play since mid-June. Eight more courts, a bar, and a restaurant are slated to open in late summer. The complex features a cushioned Novaplay Surface, 91 new LEDs for night play, and garage doors to let in fresh air and natural light. 7373 Kingsgate Way, West Chester, (513) 252-2579

Pickleball at Sawyer Point

Also among the largest pickleball centers around is a sprawling outdoor complex of 18 lighted courts run by Pickleball at Sawyer Point, a nonprofit offering new player lessons, clinics, leagues, and tournaments. Free to use and always open, they even host an online feed so you can check if your favorite court is available before you head out. 815 E. Pete Rose Way, downtown

Middletown Pickleball Association at Lefferson Park

Thanks to Stanley and Marcia Volkens and the Middletown Pickleball Association, Lefferson Park has 16 dedicated pickleball courts open seven days a week and hosting tournaments, including its 16th annual citywide pickleball tournament on August 5 & 6. 2145 S. Breiel Blvd., Middletown

The Lindner Tennis Center at Lunken Playfield

Planes taking off overhead are sure to get the blood pumping. The Lindner Tennis Center at Lunken Playfield has 12 hard surface pickleball courts you can reserve at the outdoor complex. No guarantees a Goodyear blimp will fly over to film your match, but anything’s possible. 4750 Playfield Ln., Linwood, (513) 321-1772

The Pickleball Ranch at Freedom Brewing Company

A frosty beverage makes everything better. The Pickleball Ranch at Freedom Brewing Company will combine cold brews and hot shots at a 12,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor brewery and six pickleball courts in spring 2024. A finished lower-level patio will offer an outdoor entertainment space and views of the pickleball action, plus an outdoor concert stage for live entertainment. Coming soon to Florence near Thomas More Stadium

Order on the Court: What to Know Before You Play

The most obvious differences between pickleball and tennis are the equipment and court sizes. Pickleball ditches heavy rackets and fuzzy balls for lighter paddles and plastic balls similar to Wiffle balls. Pickleball courts are also smaller than tennis courts; you can play singles or doubles, though doubles matches are more common.

Illustration by Emi Villavicencio

Going by USA Pickleball’s rule book, balls can be served underhand or via “drop serve” (look it up if you like). Scoring points is like table tennis, but notably only the serving team can score—no points for you if your opponent sends the ball out of bounds or into the “kitchen,” that seven-foot space on either side of the net. That would be a fault, which results in teams switching off serving and returning. The first team to 11 points wins if they have a two-point lead. Otherwise, the game continues until one team gets two points ahead.

This is far from every rule you’ll need to play a proper game, so visit usapickleball.org to see all official regulations.

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