The Growing Popularity of Pickleball in Colorado

A Sport for Everyone

Pickleball, a hybrid of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong, has been gaining immense popularity in recent years. What was once considered a recreational activity for older individuals has now become a fast-growing sport embraced by people of all ages and skill levels. The sport’s appeal lies in its affordability, accessibility, and ease of learning. Pickleball has taken the nation by storm, and Denver is no exception to this trend.

Exploding Popularity during the Pandemic

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, pickleball was already on the rise. However, the sport experienced exponential growth during the pandemic due to its outdoor nature and inherent social distancing measures. Many individuals sought out safe and low-barrier-to-entry activities, leading to a surge in pickleball participation. According to a survey conducted by game-set-match, a local racquet and paddle sports outfitter, over half of their respondents played pickleball in 2022, and a significant percentage intend to continue playing this year. What was once considered a recreational “beer sport” has now become a serious sporting event, with major tournaments such as the U.S. Open for pickleball.

A Sport for Athletes and Amateurs Alike

Contrary to popular belief, pickleball is not just for seniors or individuals who can no longer play traditional racquet sports. In fact, many mainstream professional athletes have ventured into pickleball, including tennis stars like Kim Clijsters and Nick Kyrgios, as well as household names from other sports such as LeBron James, Kevin Love, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady. The sport’s appeal transcends age and skill level, making it accessible to anyone who wants to have fun and engage in a reasonably competitive game.

Gearing Up for Pickleball

To play pickleball, all you need is a paddle, some balls, and a place to play. Pickleball paddles come in a range of materials and prices, from inexpensive wooden ones to powerful graphite models. Game-set-match offers a demo program where you can try out paddles before purchasing one. Additionally, there are indoor and outdoor pickleballs designed specifically for different playing conditions. When it comes to footwear, court shoes are recommended for better stability and to avoid injury.

Where to Play Pickleball in Colorado

Denver and its surrounding areas offer numerous options for pickleball enthusiasts. Denver Parks and Recreation provides free outdoor courts at various locations within the city, including Northfield Athletic Complex, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Skyland Park, Huston Lake Park, Bear Valley Park, and Eisenhower Park. Other facilities such as Cherry Creek’s Gates Tennis Center, Arvada’s Simms Street Recreation Center, and Littleton’s Cornerstone Park also offer dedicated pickleball courts. Additionally, Denver Parks and Recreation, Gates Tennis Center, Apex’s Simms Street Recreation Center, and South Suburban Parks and Recreation organize pickleball classes, clinics, and leagues for players of all skill levels.

The Rise of Pickleball Bars

As pickleball’s popularity continues to soar, unique venues dedicated to the sport have emerged. Pickleball food pubs and eateries equipped with multiple pickleball courts and full bars have become a popular destination for pickleball enthusiasts. Superior’s Pickleball Food Pub and Westminster’s Pickleball Pub are just a few examples. National chains like Chicken N Pickle are also planning to open locations in Colorado, offering more opportunities for players to enjoy the sport in a social setting.

In conclusion, pickleball has become much more than just a recreational activity. The sport’s rapid growth in popularity is evident, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a beginner looking for a fun and competitive game, pickleball offers something for everyone. Its affordability, accessibility, and inclusive nature make it a beloved sport that continues to bring people together. So grab a paddle, find a court, and join the pickleball craze that has taken Colorado by storm.

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