For Jerry Rairdon, playing pickleball provides a release during the stressful times.
“Especially during this COVID time, it helps maintain my mental health,” he said. “When you watch a game, you hear laughter at every game. There’s a great social aspect. Even when you get older and can’t move all that well, you can still play and compete.”
The Noblesville resident plays once or twice a week on the indoor pickleball courts at the Noblesville Parks Recreation Annex, 300 N. 17th St., which part of Ivy Tech campus.
“Pickleball has continued to grow around the country over the last few years,” said Kristi Spehler, community development manager for Noblesville Parks and Recreation Dept. “It’s been continuing to grow in popularity. We are trying to accommodate that growth and interest. It’s easy to play and easy to learn, so that’s why we’ve continued the pickleball hours. We see a steady crowd of players.”
Spehler said more than 1,500 people have played pickleball at the facility since it opened in late October 2020 for the fall and winter session. Up to six courts can be configured for pickleball in two different gyms in the Recreation Annex.
“The Recreation Annex opened a few years ago in what used to be the old high school,” she said. “Now, there is space in there within Ivy Tech that the parks department manages.”
Not surprisingly, Spehler said indoor play isn’t as popular during the summer.
“There are courts around town that people play outside,” Spehler said. “As the weather turns (colder), we open that up for indoor play.”
Operating hours are 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Saturday for open pickleball play and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday for open play.
Spehler said pickleball is a comparatively safe sport to play during the COVID-19 pandemic because players are spaced apart. Even playing doubles on the same side of the court, players are not usually too close.
“You stay in your own little space and play, similar to the way tennis is playing if you are playing doubles,” Spehler said. “Everyone brings their own paddle, so they have their equipment.”
When not actually playing, participants are required to follow COVID-19 social distancing and mask protocols for the Ivy Tech Community College campus. All participants must have a temperature check prior to entry.
Fishers resident Mike McDonald typically plays four days a week. He also plays outside at a park on warm weather days.
“It’s such a large group of people, and they’re so nice it makes it easy to come here,” McDonald said of the Recreation Annex. “It’s good competition and I love coming here in the mornings.”
Pickleball can be played by people of all ages and skill levels. It is played with a paddle and plastic ball and has some similarities to tennis, badminton and table tennis. The Recreation Annex draws players ranging from teenagers to people in their 90s.
Noblesville Parks has four outdoor pickleball courts at Finch Creek Park.
“Our tennis courts at Forest Park can also accommodate pickleball,” Spehler said.
Playing at the Recreation Annex
Pickleball players should park on the east side of the Ivy Tech building. Entry is through Door 18. Cost for a drop-in player is $5 per visit. A 15-visit punch pass is available for $50.
For more, contact recreation program coordinator Angela Staggs at 317- 776-6350 (extension 6) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.