The Phenomenon of Pickleball: A Sport That’s Taking Denver by Storm

A Growing Sport with Surprising Appeal

Pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in America, has seen a surge in popularity in Colorado, particularly in Denver. What was once considered a recreational pastime has now become a serious and competitive sport attracting players of all ages and backgrounds. The sport’s rise in popularity can be attributed to its outdoor nature, low-barrier-to-entry, and inherent social appeal. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the sport’s success, the equipment required to play, and where you can join in the fun in Denver.

Pickleball: More Than Just a “Beer Sport”

Gone are the stereotypes that pickleball is just a toned-down version of tennis for seniors. Professional athletes, including tennis stars like Kim Clijsters and Nick Kyrgios, as well as household names from other sports like LeBron James, Kevin Love, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady, have invested in the sport. Major League Pickleball is expanding, and the U.S. Open for pickleball has become a serious competition. With its growing professional recognition, pickleball is proving to be a sport that appeals to athletes from diverse backgrounds.

An Affordable and Accessible Sport

One of the key factors contributing to pickleball’s popularity is its affordability and accessibility. Unlike many sports that require expensive equipment and specialized facilities, pickleball only requires a paddle, some balls, and a place to play. The low cost and ease of learning make it an attractive option for anyone looking to participate, regardless of age or skill level. While not everyone may make it to the pro pickleball tour, they can still have fun and engage in a reasonably competitive game.

Gearing Up for Pickleball

To play pickleball, you’ll need a few essential items:

Pickleball Paddles

Pickelball paddles come in a variety of materials and prices. From inexpensive wooden paddles to high-performance graphite models, there is a paddle for every budget. Game-Set-Match, a local sports outfitter, offers a range of options that cater to different skill levels. It’s advisable for players to try out multiple paddles to find one that suits their playing style.

Pickleballs

It’s important to note the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs. Indoor pickleballs are larger and designed to slow down, while outdoor pickleballs are smaller and engineered to withstand wind and move faster. Game-Set-Match has a variety of options available, and they also match competitor prices.

Court Shoes

While specialized pickleball shoes are not mandatory, it’s recommended to wear court shoes for better lateral stability and to avoid potential ankle injuries. Mizuno Wave Exceed Light, Asics Resolution 9, and Babolat SFX are some of the recommended options for pickleball footwear.

Where to Play Pickleball in Denver

Denver offers several outdoor pickleball courts for players to enjoy:

  • Northfield Athletic Complex
  • Martin Luther King Jr Park
  • Skyland Park
  • Huston Lake Park
  • Bear Valley Park
  • Eisenhower Park

In addition to these outdoor courts, Denver Parks and Recreation also has indoor courts available in various rec centers throughout the city. However, due to noise and parking complaints, play at renowned pickleball hot spot Congress Park has been temporarily suspended. Efforts are underway to address these concerns and provide more options for players.

Outside of Denver, places like Cherry Creek’s Gates Tennis Center, Arvada’s Simms Street Recreation Center, and Littleton’s Cornerstone Park offer dedicated pickleball facilities with different pricing structures and amenities.

Learn, Compete, and Socialize

For those interested in learning pickleball or taking their skills to the next level, Denver Parks and Recreation offers various classes and clinics. From beginner workshops to advanced training, there are opportunities for players of all levels to improve their game. Additionally, leagues and tournaments are organized, providing a platform for competitive play and a chance to connect with other pickleball enthusiasts.

Pickleball Bars: The Perfect Blend of Sport and Socializing

In a unique twist, pickleball bars combine the sport with dining and entertainment. Superior’s Eatery and Westminster’s Pickleball Food Pub are two local establishments that have embraced this concept. Complete with indoor and outdoor courts, full bars, and a range of events, these venues offer a one-of-a-kind pickleball experience. National chains like Chicken N Pickle and 3rd Shot Pickleball are also set to open locations in the Denver area, further establishing pickleball as a social activity.

Join the Pickleball Craze in Denver

Pickleball is more than just a passing fad—it’s a sport that has captured the hearts of Denver locals. With its inclusive and accessible nature, pickleball offers an opportunity for everyone to get active, have fun, and connect with others. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a complete beginner, pickleball welcomes all. So grab a paddle, find a court, and join the pickleball craze sweeping through the Mile-High City.

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