HENDERSON, KY, Aug. 21, 2020 – Apparently there’s something to the notion that if you build it, they will come.
Last summer, two outdoor pickleball courts were created on a portion of an old tennis court at Community Park on Madison Street.
They were the first designated pickleball courts in Henderson, though temporary courts have been available to set up at the Henderson County Family YMCA’s youth gym in the past.
Now an additional court has been added at Community Park, courts have gotten a facelift with new traction-enhancing Kentucky Blue paint, lights are going to be added, more and more players are showing up and a league is in the planning stages.
“As far as the courts go, we have three of the nicest courts in all of the Tri-State,” said Eddie Minton, one of the organizers of the pickleball group. “They’re not just good, they’re great.”
The paddle sport, which is played on a badminton-sized court that has a slightly modified tennis net, is good for all ages and skill levels, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.
The game combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong and is played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes (similar to a wiffleball). It can be played as doubles or singles.
According to the USA Pickleball Association, the sport is exploding in popularity, which is attributed to its frequent play within community centers, physical education classes, YMCA facilities and retirement communities.
There are now nearly 8,000 locations on the USAPA’s “Places 2 Play” map at usapa.org. The organization said an average of 110 new locations are added each month.
Minton said the group has recently started hosting weekend “round robin” tournaments limited to about 12 players to be mindful of social distancing during the pandemic.
His group actually applied the elbow grease to striping off the new court and painting all of them after filling in the cracks in the concrete and priming them with a coat of sealer. The City of Henderson purchased the supplies and will also install a new net on the third court.
“The City has bent over backward to help us,” he said, noting that his group recently held a small ribbon-cutting ceremony for the court improvements. “They pressure-washed the surface before we starting working on the courts. It’s been great teamwork.”
He said the pickleball group welcomes new players. Anyone interested in playing or learning to play can contact him at 270-860-7785.