There are more pickleball players than ever before, but that does not mean the game is at its high; it’s still growing.
But that means some people with the urge to play will look around their local area and realize there isn’t a dedicated pickleball community.
Aren’t sure? Check out our post for finding a pickleball community in your area… if there is one!
So, what can they do?
They can start their own pickleball community!
Really, it’s not that hard. And it is at the very core of what makes pickleball so special. Individuals like you just want to play, and if that means starting a community, they’ll do it. And the game grows and grows.
Let’s see if we can make starting your own pickleball community as easy as possible!
Contact a USA Pickleball Ambassador
Pickleball Ambassadors are volunteers who promote the sport of pickleball, especially in their local area.
These are individuals or couples who
Pickleball ambassadors are individuals or couples who promote the sport of pickleball, especially in their local area.
They work closely with communities, venues, clubs, and others to create an interest in pickleball for the benefit of everyone.
This makes the pickleball ambassador in your area one of the most valuable resources you have!
Find yours right here. (https://usapickleball.org/get-involved/usa-pickleball-ambassadors/)
Find a Place to Play
Having a place to play is vital for your new pickleball community. Of course, you can (and may) go to a few different courts in your area, but to start, there needs to be a hub or home for your community.
Wherever there are tennis courts, there are opportunities for pickleball.
You’ll need to ask the owner or facility manager for permission to play pickleball there. Be clear with your intentions, and let them know you’re trying to start a new pickleball community because of the interest you and others have around the game, but there isn’t a home for it yet in the area.
Sometimes, they’ll jump at the opportunity to be the first place with dedicated pickleball.
Usually, though, it’ll take some time.
Any recreational center, park, or public facility with courts are good places to start.
Unless they have pickleball-specific nets and courts, you’ll need to set up a temporary net for yourself.
You can turn any standard tennis court into a pickleball court with a few tweaks.
Net – the net for pickleball has to be at 34”. You can do this by lowering a tennis net with a net adjuster or setting up a mini net like these (hyperlink to pickleball nets category page).
Lines – next, you need to draw the lines for your court.
A respectful way to do this is by starting off small. Start by drawing down lines in chalk.
As your numbers grow and your group doesn’t miss a slot, you can ask to put down tape lines.
Then, again, as your numbers grow, you’ll reach the point where it makes the most sense to paint those lines down.
But remember, you need permission from the court owner!
Our pickleball line set is perfect for this because it leaves no marks behind on the court as tape and chalk do. It’s nonslip and durable. Plus, it sets up in seconds and has its own carrying case so you’re free to use them again and again.
Offering free lessons is a great way to get traffic to your community, helps set you up as an authority, and is an excellent practice if you’re new.
You don’t need to be a pickleball pro to hold a few free lessons. You’re just providing a framework and schedule that can help people learn the basics of the game – it’s not too much for you!
Eventually, you can host free camps – several days in a row of lessons, practice, and coaching that grow and expand on the day’s previous, which can quickly attract many participants.
Adding drop-ins is a practical next step once you have a routine and a schedule.
Drop-ins allow interested parties to try out or even just see pickleball without a lot of pressure or expectations.
As the size of your community grows, try to add more drop-in times. Soon, you may have a team of people doing an hour a week for drop-ins, which is a lot of chances to get new players.
Now that you have your court, it’s time to find some people to play on it.
For your very first time on the court, it would be great if it were you and three friends, so new players could see the game in action and so you can easily add them to the game to try it out without disrupting the flow, too much.
Here are a few ways to get some eyes on your new community:
Put up posters or print-outs wherever you think some people may be interested in pickleball.
It works well if you have those little tabs people can pull off, but some are also adding QR codes that lead to their website or community page (we’ll get to that later).
Recreational clubs, colleges, and cafes can be good places to start (really, wherever you see other posters up, you should at least consider asking to put yours up, too).
But there are so many more options, too. Get creative!
Maybe you know of a winter sport that has a passionate following. These people are looking for something to do during the spring and summer. Maybe even together. And pickleball can become the game they play the other half of the year!
Word of Mouth
Another big way to spread the news about your new community is simply by word of mouth.
One of the things that makes pickleball so popular is how many wildly different people – with other interests and backgrounds – want to play it.
Simply talking about pickleball with others and inviting them to try it themselves can go far. And, when anyone does join your new community, ask them to pass it along. Ask them to bring a friend.
Every time one person tells another person about pickleball, it’s another step in the right direction.
Putting it Online
The internet is one of the best ways to get new eyes on your community.
First, you can add your community to a few different popular search engines that will help expand your presence.
Next, it’s time to turn to social media!
Not only can you use your own social media profiles to grow your community, but you should also make a page specifically for your community.
This provides a home for your members to stay connected to you and helps you gauge your growth.
Eventually, you may even make your own website with your own events, tournaments, and messaging board.
When this happens, you’ll realize that the reason you started all this – because you couldn’t find a community in your area – is no longer a problem… because your community is what was missing.
Kalindi Dinoffer is trained in multiple aspects of mindfulness in life and in sports, sharing on her blog MindfulKalindi.com. She is also certified to teach yoga, fitness, reiki, and MFR. Kalindi also serves as VP marketing at OnCourtOffCourt.com, a leading supplier of tennis, pickleball, fitness and yoga training aids and equipment and has been published in Tennis industry Magazine and Pickleball Magazine, and has conducted workshops at conferences around the world. In her spare time, Kalindi plays tennis, pickleball and table tennis and enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and biking and cross country skiing in the winter.