All Are Welcomed on the Pickleball Court

No doubt you’ve played tennis, badminton and Ping-Pong. But have you tried your hand at the sport that combines all three of them?

Pickleball is a fast-growing game played with a paddle and ball, and it’s become popular across the Chicago suburbs. And with good reason: it’s accessible to people of all ages and skill levels.
To give you an idea of what to expect, the court is comparable in size to the one badminton players use. It has similar markings to a tennis court, and there’s a short net in the middle. But the paddles are smaller than tennis rackets, and the ball is plastic, like in Ping-Pong.

If you’re brand new to the game, don’t be intimidated. “The regular pickleball players are open, welcoming and friendly,” says Megan Hatheway, athletic supervisor for the St. Charles Park District, where pickleball is a rapidly growing pastime. “They love to see new players, and they’re even willing to teach you the basics during open play.”

New and experienced players alike can drop in during open play hours at Haines Gymnasium (Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-noon) and Pottawatomie Community Center (Monday and Thursday 1 p.m.-4 p.m.). It’s a low cost to drop in and play a few games.

Once the weather warms up, head to the outdoor courts at James O. Breen Community Park for open play. And bring the kids or grandkids with you: even the little ones are welcome to play here.

In this multi-generational game, there’s no need for fancy clothing or equipment. Anything comfortable that you’d wear to play basketball or any other court-based sport will do.
Once you get the hang of the game, beginner and competitive leagues play round-robin style indoors on Monday and Tuesday nights.

Schedules and fees are subject to change, so double-check before you go. Or, better yet, subscribe to “The Dink,” St. Charles Park District’s monthly pickleball newsletter. ❚

Contact St. Charles Park District at (630) 513-6200, and get the latest details on pickleball at