What’s pickleball? It’s only the hottest and trendiest game in the world. Pickleball is considered the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., and that especially holds true in the Sunshine State. Regardless of whether you’re a beginner just picking up a paddle or an experienced pro, you’ll love hitting the courts in Florida.

Pickleball is a sport that combines tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. You play with a net on a specially marked court, usually with a partner. Players use a plastic ball and wooden paddles to hit the ball over the net. What’s pickleball’s objective? To hit a shot so good the other player can’t return it and score a point for your team.

Ready to learn more about this exciting new game? Read on to get the gist of pickleball and its origins, find places to play in Southwest Florida, and more.

​​What is Pickleball

​​What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a racquet sport that is said to be the fastest growing sport in America.

 It is played on a court, with a plastic ball and players use wooden paddles to hit a ball over the net. The pickleball game is played on a court that is like a badminton or tennis court with a net in the middle. In fact, many tennis courts in Florida have lines marked just for pickleball.  Just like tennis, the objective of pickleball is to hit the ball back and forth over the net, so that the other player cannot return it. The game is played on a court that is 34 inches wide and 64 feet long.

You can play pickleball with friends and with family members of all skill levels and ages and abilities. It’s easy to learn but can be challenging to master. The game is a lot of fun and can be played competitively or casually. There are also many pickleball tournaments around the country. Playing pickleball is a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to get some exercise!

Pickleball isn’t the only way to work up a sweat in Southwest Florida. Learn more about Cape Coral walking trails and get ready to lace up your sneakers.

How Did Pickleball Get Its Start?

Pickleball originated here in the U.S. It was invented in 1965 by three friends, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum. The friends were looking for something to do during their summer vacation and came up with the game after a ferry trip. 

These three amigos took a badminton net and put it up between two trees and used a Wiffle ball to bat back and forth with ping pong paddles. They had fun playing the game and soon other’s heard word of this exciting new sport. Since then, the game has taken off and continued to grow.

Rumor has it that the sport got its name from Pritchard’s dog, Pickles, who would always run out to retrieve the ball. However, the true source of the name came from the wife of Joel Prichard who was a competitive boat rower in her college days. To her, the game was like a pickle boat crew, which had members chosen from the leftovers of other boats. Therefore, just like this game was a mash-up of different sports, she named it pickleball.

Which 3 Sports Does Pickleball Combine? 

What’s pickleball made up of? It combines the sports of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. Players use paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. In Florida, pickleball is played outdoors and is growing in popularity as a fun way to get some exercise. If you’re looking for a new activity to try, give pickleball a go!

How Many People Play Pickleball

How Many People Play Pickleball?

It is estimated that 4.1 million people world-wide play pickleball. While not quite as popular as tennis with 21.5 million players world-wide, the number of pickleball players is on the rise and growing about 30% each year according to information from the BBC.

Tennis and pickleball might reign when it comes to the courts, but golf is another popular sport in our corner of the Sunshine State. Learn more about the best golf courses in Southwest Florida.

What’s the Difference Between Pickleball and Tennis?

Pickleball is a mashup of three popular games, but it is most often compared to tennis. Both games are played on a court with a net. Both games can be played with or without a partner. But that might be where the similarities end. Let’s look at how the games are different.

Pickleball is a Slower

Pickleball is much slower paced than tennis, which can make it more beginner friendly. There is a lot of give and take in the game, so rallies can last for extended periods of time.

Pickleball is a Mashup

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. Unlike tennis, the two or four players on the pickleball court use solid rackets made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a Wiffle Ball, over a net.

However, in tennis, the rackets are stronger t and the balls bounce is much higher than the plastic ball in Pickleball.

Pickleball is Scored Differently

Tennis scoring comes with lots of complicated terms like love, deuce, and add. Pickleball, on the other hand, is simply played to 11 points or 21, whichever comes first.

Double Bounces Allowed

In pickleball, the plastic ball can bounce twice on each side of the net before being hit back across, making the game more strategic.

Placement vs Power

The strokes made to hit the ball in pickleball are more placement based than power shots made in tennis. This means that they are gentler to make than tennis strokes. This is which makes it an easy sport for all ages to play.

Precision Matters

The shots made in pickleball need to be better timed and precise because of the shorter distance of the court.

Pickleball is Easier on the Body

Pickleball is less demanding on your body than tennis is because there is less movement on the court and therefore less instances of getting injuries.

Which Is Harder: Tennis or Pickleball

Which Is Harder: Tennis or Pickleball?

Pickleball is considered to be a softer sport than tennis. It is a paddle sport that is played on a badminton-sized court with a slightly hard ball. You also don’t have to move as much as tennis, which reduces your chances of injuries. 

However, pickleball can require more mental alertness than tennis does. This is especially because there is no volley zone requiring you to stay some distance from the net.

What Do I Need to Play Pickleball?

Ready to get started playing pickleball? You’ll need a wooden paddle, a wiffle ball, a net or court, and a partner. Most sporting goods stores in Florida sell pickleball sets. You can likely find the equipment you need to get started with pickleball for less than $50.

You’ll also want to dress the part when you’re playing pickleball. Men will likely find that loose-fitting athletic shorts and a moisture-wicking top will keep you cool on the court in Florida’s sun. Ladies might consider dressing in tennis attire to play pickleball, like a skort and moisture-wicking top.

Now that you know what you’ll need, where to find it, and what to where, let’s look at a few places where you can play pickleball around Southwest Florida.

Where to Play Pickleball 

There are pickleball courts all across Southwest Florida. You’ll find some courts dedicated just to pickleball, others are courts shared with other racket sports.

Can You Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court?

Yes, you can play pickleball on a tennis court. You would just need to set up the appropriate boundaries for the game. Many public tennis courts in Southwest Florida already have pickleball lines marked.

How Many Pickleball Courts Are In East Naples?

East Naples is something of a pickleball paradise. In fact, there are 64 pickleball courts in East Naples. You can find them at the East Naples Community Park, which is also known as “Pickleball Central” and home to the Naples Pickleball Center.

Why is East Naples Community Park known as “Pickleball Central”? Not only will you find 64 pickleball courts, but you’ll also find a pickleball pro shop and the Pickleball Academy of Southwest Florida here. This makes East Naples the perfect place to go if you’re ready to get into the game.

How Many Pickleball Courts Are In East Naples

Where Can I Play Pickleball in Fort Myers?

East Naples isn’t the only pickleball hot spot in Southwest Florida. You’ll also find nearly 2 dozen places to enjoy the sport in Fort Myers, giving you plenty of options.

Here are 20 pickleball courts you can play in Fort Myers:

  1. Bay Oaks Recreation Center, with 6 courts
  2. Indian Creek RV Resort, with 5 courts
  3. Gulf Waters RV Resort, with 4 courts
  4. Fort Myers Racquet Club
  5. Brooks Community Park
  6. Heritage Palm Pickleball Courts
  7. Wa-Ke Hatchee Recreation center
  8. Beach Boyz Pickleball Training center
  9. North Fort Myers Community Park
  10. North Fort Myers Recreation center
  11. Sam Fleishman Regional Sports Complex     
  12. The Club at Gateway Tennis Center
  13. Fort Myers YMCA
  14. Mor Sports Group
  15. Play it Again Sports
  16. The Forest Country Club
  17. Siesta Bay RV Resort
  18. Cypress Trail RV Resort
  19. Cinnamon Cove 
  20. Brookshire Bath and Tennis Courts

Is There Pickleball on Sanibel Island?

Looking to get into the game on island time? You’ll find several places to play pickleball on Sanibel Island. 

Local pickleball courts on Sanibel Island include:

  • Sanibel Recreation Center
  • Sanibel Community House
  • Dunes Golf and Tennis Club
  • Sundial Beach Resort and Spa
  • Surfrider Beach Club

Is There Pickleball on Sanibel Island

Get in the Game and Play Pickleball in Florida

So, what’s pickleball?  It is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world and it brings serious fun and competition to the courts.

Ready to make pickleball part of your next Southwest Florida vacation? Browse vacation rentals in Fort Myers now and find the perfect homebase for your sporty adventure. Need more flexibility in your vacation planning experience? Learn more about Flexcation Options from Royal Shell.