Relishing Pickleball

David Zapatka

Pickleball in Sun Lakes has exploded the past eight years. From the first temporary courts in Cottonwood/Palo Verde in 2008 to the first Sun Lakes permanent courts in IronOaks in 2011 to the six courts in Sun Lakes Country Club in 2016, Sun Lakes pickleball players are now 700+ strong. With so many players asking for pickleball news, tips and related information and with some nudging and encouragement, the Relishing Pickleball column has come to life.

This column will cover many pickleball-related topics such as Sun Lakes news, pickleball opportunities in and around the valley, equipment, balls, rules, training tips, refereeing, funny and interesting stories, upcoming tournaments, national pickleball news, pickleball comedy, the USAPA (USA Pickleball Association) National Tournament, the US Open and more.

From its beginning in the State of Washington in 1965, pickleball has grown to become played in all 50 United States, Guam, Aruba, Australia, Belgium, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Great Britain, Crete, Guatemala, Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Spain and Thailand. The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) 2016 Pickleball Participant Report reported pickleball currently has 2.5 million players in the United States alone. There are now 4,747 places to play pickleball in the U.S. with 16,549 courts.

There are pickleball vacations to exotic places where you can receive training from professional players, play with other pickleball fanatics and tour the wonders of the world. Simply Google pickleball vacations to find the many opportunities if you love travel. And if you’re traveling in the U.S. or one of the many foreign countries listed above, go to USAPA.org to find courts and contacts who can put you in touch with other pickleball players from around the world.

Speaking of places to play, due to the efforts of our hardworking USAPA ambassadors, new places to play pickleball in the East Valley are coming to fruition.

* Chandler will soon have six permanent courts at Arrowhead Park.

* Phoenix will soon have 16 new public courts at Pecos Park.

* Gilbert now has six public courts at Highland High School.

* Maricopa now has courts located at Copper Sky Park.

* Phoenix will soon have six courts at Paseo Highlands Park and three at Rose Mofford Park.

Have a question about pickleball? Want to know more about the sport, the rules, equipment or have some picklilicious news you would like to share with our pickleball community? Email David Zapatka at [email protected]