What is Recreational Pickleball?
While competition and skill development may be what some players are looking for on the pickleball court, others are looking for an opportunity to simply play and have some fun. Recreational pickleball often focuses more on the social and fun elements of the sport that provide a supportive and light environment for all.
Some recreational leagues may still be split by skill level to provide opportunities to play with and against like-skilled individuals, but many recreational leagues or programs are open to all levels.
Determining your Skill Level as a Recreational Player
When you’re not playing in tournaments or at a club that offers skill assessments, it can be tricky to determine your skill level, especially for the first time.
Start by reviewing the material on self assessment skill levels and 2-digit ratings outlined on the Pickleball Canada website. This will help you match up the skills you currently have with an approximate skill level. If possible, seek some assistance from experienced sources to help you make a fair assessment of your skill level.
Recreational play is often less strict with ratings than tournament play, but it is still important to have an idea of your skill level to ensure you participate in the right category should your club offer level-based play, and to more easily find other players near your skill level to play with.
Finding Recreational Play
Finding a Club
Local clubs are a great source for regularly scheduled programming.
We recommend you start your search for a club near you with our Find a Club tool, which will allow you to search for Pickleball Canada affiliated clubs by province. See what might be near you, check out their websites, and maybe send an email to inquire about the programs they offer. Let them know what type of play you’re looking for.
There may be other clubs or groups near you that are not affiliated with Pickleball Canada, and a web search of “pickleball near me” may help you find some. Some community groups have Facebook or Whatsapp groups, email chains, etc., that organize games at public facilities. Don’t be afraid to head out to your neighbourhood courts and chat with fellow pickleball players! They may have great insight about pickleball in your community to share with you.
Reach out to your Provincial or Territorial Pickleball Association
Not finding clubs or groups near you online? Reach out to your Provincial or Territorial pickleball association and let them know where you live and what you’re looking for. They will likely be able to help point you in the right direction or suggest other options to get you on the courts.
Finding Available Courts
Community and recreation centres, public outdoor courts (often shared with tennis or basketball courts), educational centres, and private clubs are all great sources for courts to play on. Many community or recreation centres will schedule drop-in or open play hours, so head to your municipal website to see what might be available in your community.
Check out the Places to Play tool to find facilities near you.
What to ask a venue to find a good place to play?
If you are unsure of how drop-in or open play times at your local community or recreation centre work, or any venue offering recreational pickleball, don’t be afraid to give them a call or send an email to ask what their offerings look like.
Questions you may want to ask include:
- Is equipment provided? (if you don’t already have your own paddle or balls)
- Is this open to all skill levels?
- Do I need a partner?
- Is there a fee or membership required to play?