The Rising Popularity of Pickleball in Colorado: A sport for all ages

Introduction

Pickleball, a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, is experiencing a surge in popularity across America, and Colorado is no exception. From its humble beginnings as a casual recreational activity, pickleball has evolved into a serious sport attracting a diverse set of players, including professional athletes. In this article, we will explore the rise of pickleball in Colorado, discuss the necessary equipment, and highlight the various places where enthusiasts can enjoy the game.

A Sport on the Rise

The COVID-19 pandemic played a significant role in catapulting pickleball’s popularity, as it was an outdoor, socially-distanced sport that provided entertainment and exercise during lockdowns. According to Rachel Heise, the general manager of Game-Set-Match, a local racquet and paddle sports outfitter, pickleball participation nearly doubled from 2021 to 2022, with a three-year growth total of 158.6 percent. This growth trend is also observed in Denver, where pickleball has become a favorite sport among locals.

Busting Stereotypes

Pickleball is shedding stereotypes that it is merely a toned-down version of tennis for seniors. This misconception is dispelled by the fact that 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 major league pickleball. The sport’s professional league, which is expanding from 12 to 16 teams this year, is gaining recognition and attracting athletes from diverse sporting backgrounds.

Accessible and Affordable

One of the appealing aspects of pickleball is its accessibility and affordability. Unlike many other sports, pickleball does not require expensive equipment or specialized gear. All you need to get started is a paddle, some balls, and a place to play. Game-Set-Match offers a range of paddles to suit different preferences and budgets. Pickleballs, which differ in size for indoor and outdoor play, can also be purchased from the same store. Additionally, court shoes are recommended for stability and to protect the playing surface.

Where to Play

For pickleball enthusiasts in Colorado, there are several places to play the sport. Denver Parks and Recreation provides outdoor pickleball courts across the city, including locations such as the Northfield Athletic Complex, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Skyland Park, and more. Gates Tennis Center in Cherry Creek and Simms Street Recreation Center in Arvada also offer pickleball courts for rental. Players can also join classes and clinics offered by various recreational centers to improve their skills or participate in competitive leagues and tournaments.

The Future of Pickleball

The growing popularity of pickleball has paved the way for new developments. Pickleball bars such as Pickleball Food Pub in Westminster and upcoming establishments like Chicken N Pickle and Camp Pickle in Glendale, Thornton, Centennial, and Globeville, are offering a unique social and recreational experience for pickleball enthusiasts. These establishments combine the sport with dining and entertainment, creating a vibrant pickleball community.

Conclusion

Pickleball has swiftly gained popularity in Colorado and across the nation, attracting players of all ages and backgrounds. Its accessibility, affordability, and versatility make it an appealing sport for both recreational play and competitive athletes. As the sport continues to grow, more opportunities for playing and socializing are emerging, making pickleball an exciting addition to Colorado’s sports scene. So, grab a paddle, find a court, and join in on the fun of pickleball.

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