Planning a pickleball program in more than one location should be considered before capturing players. Check to see what is available in the surrounding area. Are there any unused tennis courts or basketball courts in a recreation park, a community center gym that has available hours, a school parking lot, Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs and YMCA’s needing some after-school activities? Maybe begin neighborhood pickleball in a cul-de- sac! Wherever it is, the first step is to secure sites. After you have secured a few locations, capture your players by providing free clinics, bring a net and a few extra paddles and balls to play games when families who are having picnics in a park, or set up in a cul-de- sac and invite the neighbors to a BBQ at your home.
Elementary School in Sunfield, Michigan
Approach the school district with a desire to create an after-school program for kids, train physical education teachers and conduct pickleball assemblies at each school. When a school is on board with pickleball, the parents, teachers, and board members will want to join the fun! Since this elementary school has painted courts, two successful tournaments have been conducted there.
HOW to Create a Program
Use the Buildings You Have
Plan to build your next pickleball court in your dairy barn! If you no longer have dairy cows and your hay loft is empty, consider the second level of the barn as your next go-to place to play. Refinish the floor, install good lighting, insulate it, put in a furnace, and there you have it! Invite friends from other surrounding farms to learn the game. Don’t forget to supply and require Release Forms. Soon you may just have other farms building their own homegrown courts!
This unique net system created by Alex and Cindy in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas demonstrated their desire to play the game right where they lived. With a personal schedule that was already full with no time to play on community courts, Cindy suggested that they set up a court in their own cul-de- sac and invite friends to play when they could. The street was slightly narrower than a regulation court and had some sloping sides, so Alex made a custom net system to fit. He salvaged some screening material from an old patio gazebo and some spare PVC pipe and fashioned a well-made net. The corners on the street were marked with black spray paint and the entire court is marked with sidewalk chalk on play days. Alex and Cindy call it “Pickleball in the Barrio”, which they like to say was “born in our hood”.