‘Going Rogue’ with Pickleball

As more and more underused (or unused) spaces in recreational and park installations are being marked for pickleball, we’re starting to see an uptick in something we haven’t seen before – players taking it into their own hands to mark courts.

The latest can be seen in a Facebook group labelled “Pickleball Forum.” A post details a group of enthusiasts’ efforts to put down coatings and mark a court for pickleball.

Of course, the reaction is in two camps:

  • Good for you, and
  • How dare you?

Obviously, the demand for pickleball is out there – and perhaps there are some parks and rec departments that are skeptical about putting in something that could be viewed as a relatively new sport. It is, however, an interesting concept – and something those in the Courts & Recreation Division may wish to take advantage of: marketing the ability to quickly and easily make courts accessible for pickleball players.

While it’s great to see a demand for a sports facility – and a group of users who really want a facility, there are inherent problems. The immediate concern, of course, is that these ‘rogue’ pickleball court converters do not have knowledge when it comes to laying down court surfaces. They may use coatings that are not sport-specific, they may not understand how to clean the present courts before recoating them, they may mark them incorrectly – in short, what may come out of the effort may be a pickleball facility with far more shortcomings than advantages. In addition, it can cause ill will with the parks department as well as other user groups.

The fact that parks and rec offices as well as others appear to be ignoring groups is not desirable – but perhaps what is less desirable is the fact that once these unauthorized facilities go in, the owners may have a fight on their hands if someone is injured using them and tries to sue.

We can expect more of these scenarios on a forward-going basis; however, we’d like to know what our membership is experiencing. Are you seeing this type of activity in your area? We’d like to know about it. It may make for a follow-up topic to this blog.

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