A game for all ages and abilities, pickleball has officially swept the nation. The fun of the sport is contagious. It is a low impact sport that feels accessible for almost anyone, has a relatively low entrance cost and is easy to learn. Leagues and pickleball-centered businesses are popping up in every corner of the metro. If you have ever wondered what the craze is all about, there’s no shortage of places to play pickleball in Kansas City. From lessons to leagues, a method to learn to love the game is never far.
Places to Play Pickleball in Kansas City
Pay to Play for Fun
Capitalizing on the success of the sport, SERV is a newer venue catering to those who want to socialize while partaking in a little friendly competition. Serving cocktails and an array of food options makes it family-friendly or adult night out approved. During peak hours courts go for $40 an hour and $20 during the week. As a way to attract more to the sport, SERV offers leagues, clinics, open play options and frequent events.
The always popular Chicken N Pickle has two locations in the metro. It is hard to find a time when the courts are not filled to the brim with families and friends eating and sipping with a paddle in their hand. Pricing ranges from $30 – 45 an hour depending on day of the week and time.
54th Street Grill in Zona Rosa offers two courts adjacent to their patio. Book ahead of time to avoid waiting!
Join a League
KC Crew League is an adult sports league offering a multitude of sports to join, pickleball, being one. They play six regular season games and a tournament. Prizes are awarded, but it is all about friendly and fun competition. Join as an individual, small group or team for a chance to take home gold.
SW19 in Leawood is newly reopened and ready to welcome players! Join a club, take a class, bring a friend to volley with or watch all the action take place.
Meadowbrook Park offers a self-governed league operating in the Spring, Summer and Fall. Participants must be 18 and older and top teams compete in a tournament at the end of the season.
Stonewall Sports hosts a league near the Plaza on Thursday nights, where all abilities are encouraged to join.
Play for Free
The popularity of the sport has made municipalities convert former tennis and basketball courts to pickleball. Hundreds of parks around the metro provide a place to play through their local Park & Recreation departments. Community centers provide indoor facilities when the weather is less than ideal as well!
Some of the most popular and well maintained courts include: Bois D’Arc Park in Lenexa, Blue Valley Rec Center, Brookside Park, Hyde Park, Lea McKeighan Park North, Liberty Community Center and Blue Springs Fieldhouse.
For the most extensive list of indoor and outdoor courts in the metro, reference Pickleball KC, as they update availability monthly.
Basic Rules – What You Need to Know to Get Started
Pickleball is primarily played as doubles, but one-on-one is permitted. Rules are similar to tennis, with a few exceptions.
A “drop serve” is the most common type of serve, where the ball bounces before being hit in an upward motion from the right quadrant of the court.
Only one serve attempt is allowed per server.
If a point is scored, the server switches sides and begins from the left side of the court.
Both players on the serving doubles team have the opportunity to serve and score points until they commit a fault.
Points are scored only by the serving team.
Games are normally played to 11 points, win by 2.
When the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning, and then the serving team must let it bounce before returning, thus two bounces.
After the ball has bounced once in each team’s court, both teams may either volley the ball (hit the ball before it bounces) or play it off a bounce (ground stroke).
The non-volley zone is the court area within seven feet on both sides of the net.
Volleying is prohibited within the non-volley zone. This rule prevents players from executing smashes from a position within the zone.
A fault is any action that stops play because of a rule violation.
A fault by the receiving team results in a point for the serving team.
A fault by the serving team results in the server’s loss of serve or side out.
Common Pickleball Terms
The Kitchen: The kitchen is the everyday term used to refer to the non-volley zone on either side of the net.
Dink: A dink is a soft shot that is hit on a bounce from the kitchen. Effective dinks create a more difficult return shot for your opponent.
Volley: To volley means hitting the ball out of the air without allowing it to hit the ground first.
Fault: Faults occur when a ball isn’t returned over the net, a serve is not put in play or when players volley inside the kitchen.
ATP: Short for Around The Post, means returning an opponent’s shot “around the post” as opposed to returning it over the net.
Erne: The erne is a shot in which a player strategically jumps from behind the kitchen and lands to the side of the court out of bounds. This shot is used to generate a surprise attack on an opponent and often to win the point.
Equipment Needed to Play Pickleball
A paddle and ball are all one needs to play the game. From Amazon to sporting good stores and even sites dedicated to pickleball play, it is easy to find equipment and even fashionable accessories for those interested.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to lace up the ‘ol tennies, so I can head to the kitchen for a round of volleys with the girlies.