LET'S PLAY PICKLEBALL!
Sevierville, Tennessee welcomes America’s fastest-growing sport.
Pickleball is a fun, social, and friendly sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. And it’s growing fast! The USA Pickleball Association estimates that more than 4.8 million Americans played the sport in 2021—almost double the number from five years ago and a 21 percent increase in just one year.
The popular game is right at home in the family-friendly community of Sevierville, Tennessee. Part of pickleball’s appeal is that it’s easy to learn and anyone can play. It’s a racket/paddle sport that can be played indoors or out by two or four players. Players hit the ball—which is plastic and dotted with holes like a wiffle ball—over a net that’s lower than in tennis. The courts are smaller than tennis courts, too, so there’s less sprinting involved.
The sport’s popularity surged during the coronavirus pandemic. “People wanted to get outside,” says Bob Parker, director of Sevierville Parks & Recreation. “Combine that with the fact that most anybody of any skill level can play pickleball and it’s a home run kind of program for people who want exercise.”
Sevierville currently offers eight pickleball courts at Sevierville City Park. The location was selected with input from the local pickleball community of over 300 active members. “They wanted the pickleball courts all together,” says Parker. “We’re a tourist destination and locals want to play yet recognize that visitors will want to play, too.” Everyone is welcome to come play pickleball with fellow enthusiasts.
Two pickleball courts can fit on one tennis court—one on each side of the net. Currently in Sevierville there are four painted combination tennis/pickleball courts for a total of eight pickleball courts plus four dedicated tennis courts. All the courts will be resurfaced by June 2022 and there will be separation between the combination tennis/pickleball courts and the dedicated tennis courts. Also by June, four of the pickleball courts will be lighted for evening play.
Want to learn how to play? The City of Sevierville offers free pickleball lessons on Tuesdays from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Sevierville City Park. In inclement weather, lessons take place inside the Sevierville Community Center. Nets, paddles, and balls are provided for free to participants.
Future plans include adding four dedicated outdoor pickleball courts for a total of 12 in Sevierville; these dedicated courts will be ideal for tournament play. Planned enhancements also include a summer pickleball camp, creating a combination tennis/pickleball court for the new East Sevierville Park, and adding another indoor pickleball court to the Community Center when it’s expanded. Special events such as round robin games and pickleball discussions have already taken place and may make future event calendars.
All of the pickleball courts at Sevierville City Park are available on a first come, first served basis. (A reservation process may be added in future.) With eight courts it’s possible for 32 people to play pickleball at the same time (as teams of doubles). It’s free to play and rental equipment is available for free, too. If you’re visiting and need to borrow pickleball equipment, contact the City of Sevierville Parks & Recreation Department for access to the storage lockbox.
Two indoor pickleball courts are also available at the Community Center. Painted on the gym floor, they are popular—especially when the weather outdoors is less inviting. There’s a $3 per player fee to enter the Community Center for open play (unless you’re already a member), but equipment rental is free.
Whether pickleball is a key part of your vacation planning or if the game sounds like something you’d like to try, Sevierville has you covered.
To find other pickleball players and game plans in Sevierville, visit the Pickleball of The Smokies Facebook group. For more information about where to play, find equipment, special events, lessons, and more, contact the City of Sevierville’s Parks and Recreation Department via its website, Facebook page, and/or phone at 865-453-5441.
Where To Play Pickleball in Sevierville
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