The Growing Popularity of Pickleball in Colorado

A Sport on the Rise

Pickleball, a unique combination of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong, has been steadily gaining popularity across America. In Colorado, the sport has seen a significant surge in participation, with pickleball becoming the fastest-growing sport in the state. According to local racquet and paddle sports outfitter Game-Set-Match, pickleball participation nearly doubled from 2021 to 2022, contributing to a three-year growth total of 158.6 percent. The sport’s popularity only increased during the pandemic when it became a safe and socially distanced outdoor activity.

A Sport for All

One of the common misconceptions about pickleball is that it is primarily a sport for seniors. However, this stereotype has been shattered as professional athletes from various sports invest in the sport. Tennis stars like Kim Clijsters and Nick Kyrgios, as well as household names like LeBron James, Kevin Love, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady, have all shown their support for pickleball. The sport is expanding rapidly, with major league pickleball set to add four more teams this year.

An Affordable and Accessible Sport

One of the biggest advantages of pickleball is its affordability and accessibility. To play, all you need is a paddle, some balls, and a place to play. Game-Set-Match offers a range of pickleball paddles suitable for different skill levels and budgets. You can even try out a paddle through their demo program before making a purchase. Pickleball is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, making it an inclusive and engaging activity.

Gear and Court Options

When it comes to equipment, pickleball players need paddles and pickleballs. Paddles can range from inexpensive wooden options to high-performance graphite models. Game-Set-Match offers a wide selection of paddles to suit every player’s needs. Pickleballs differ for indoor and outdoor play, with outdoor balls designed to move faster against the wind. To play pickleball comfortably and safely, it is recommended to wear court shoes that provide lateral stability and have a tough rubber sole.

Where to Play

Denver offers numerous outdoor courts for pickleball enthusiasts. Denver Parks and Recreation provides free outdoor courts at various locations, including Northfield Athletic Complex, Martin Luther King Jr Park, Skyland Park, Huston Lake Park, Bear Valley Park, and Eisenhower Park. Cherry Creek’s Gates Tennis Center and Arvada’s Simms Street Recreation Center are also popular spots with multiple pickleball courts available for rental. Littleton’s Cornerstone Park features well-lit courts for evening play, and reservations can be made online.

Classes, Leagues, and Pickleball Bars

For those looking to improve their skills or participate in competitive play, Denver offers pickleball classes and leagues. Denver Parks and Recreation, Gates Tennis Center, Apex’s Simms Street Recreation Center, and South Suburban Parks and Recreation host clinics and workshops throughout the summer. The Gates Tennis Center also organizes a nine-week co-ed pickleball league, and Simms Street hosts an annual pickleball tournament. Additionally, pickleball bars, such as Pickleball Food Pub in Westminster, offer the opportunity to socialize and play the sport while enjoying food and drinks.

The Future of Pickleball

The increasing popularity of pickleball has led to the emergence of new venues and facilities dedicated to the sport. Chicken N Pickle, a national chain, is opening a new location in Glendale, with a Thornton outpost planned for 2024. Another establishment, 3rd Shot Pickleball, will debut indoor courts and a bar in Wheat Ridge later this year. Additionally, Camp Pickle, a concept by the entrepreneur behind Punch Bowl Social, has announced plans to open locations in Centennial in 2024 and Globeville in 2025.

Pickleball is more than just a recreational sport—it is a rapidly growing phenomenon that is captivating people of all ages and athletic abilities. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a beginner looking to try something new, pickleball offers an exciting and accessible experience. With the availability of equipment and numerous playing options, now is the perfect time to step onto the pickleball court and join the dinking, smashing, drop-shotting community.

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