Join one of the fastest growing sports in the country by playing pickleball in your very own community. With 3.3 million participants nationwide, the St. Charles Park District has also noticed steady growth in its participants over the last 10 years.
With courts at Pottawatomie Community Center and Haines Middle School, plus an outdoor court at Belgian Town Park, there are options to play pick-up pickleball as well as during scheduled open gym times and social nights.
Whether you already play or want to learn the sport, come out to the Pickleball Social Night from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 20 at Haines. The event, for ages 18 and over, is $3 at the door but please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org in advance if you plan to attend. Beginners are welcome and staff will be on hand to teach the fundamentals. Haines will also host a Pickleball Saturday Morning Social from 8 a.m. to noon Dec. 12.
And in the meantime, swing by an open gym to practice the game, offered at Pottawatomie from 1-4 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays and Haines Middle School from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-12 p.m. on Saturday.
“The interest in pickleball is steadily growing,” said Sabrina Hunley, community center supervisor, taking notice of the courts near capacity at Haines each open gym, and more than 30 players who joined the October Pickleball Social Night. Recognizing the increased popularity, the park district will expand pickleball locations to include six outdoor courts at James O. Breen Community Park this spring.
“Pickleball is a very upbeat, competitive and fast game,” Hunley said. “It’s a great way to work in some moderate physical activity to stay healthy. Pickleball gets your heart rate up and improves circulation, flexibility and balance; it’s great for overall fitness.”
A combination of ping-pong, tennis and racquetball, the game is played on a badminton-sized court, 20X44. Most commonly played with doubles, players use paddles and a perforated ball. Players serve the ball across a net to the opposing side like tennis, but with some unique rules. The following are basic rules, according to the USA Pickleball Association and the International Federation of Pickleball Official Rulebook:
• The court is divided into right/even and left/odd service courts and non-volley zones.
• The ball is served diagonally across the net to the opponent’s service court using an underhand motion.
• The ball is struck back and forth across the net until a player fails to return the ball in accordance with the rules.
• Points are scored only by the serving side when the server or the server’s team wins the rally, or the opposing side commits a fault.
• The first side scoring 11 points and leading by at least a 2-point margin wins.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, masks are required when players enter the building, but during games, masks can be taken off. Players are welcome to bring their own equipment but the park district does supply paddles as well.
To register for the Pickleball Social Night Nov. 20, please visit www.stcparks.org.
The fee for pickleball open gym is $3. Also available is a 10-punch pass for $25.
For more information, call Sabrina Hunley at 630-513-4329.