Places to Play Pickleball in Austin, TX

The Best Places to Play Pickleball in Austin, TX

Pickleball is a fast-growing sport that’s not only sweeping the nation but also our own city right here in Austin, Texas. In fact, it is now the fastest growing sport in the United States!

Pickleball grew to 4.8 million players in 2021 within the U.S., an incredible two-year growth rate of 39.3%. If you’ve been wondering what Pickleball is, how it’s played, or what everybody’s so excited about, this article is for you!

Due to the soaring popularity of the game, many local parks and recreation departments in Austin are now adding Pickleball to their sports programming and are converting their tennis courts into Pickleball courts. (They’re very similar games!)

It’s even in such demand for senior living facilities that having one is considered a competitive advantage.

We’ll start at the beginning: What is Pickleball exactly, and why is it becoming so popular?

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong using a paddle and plastic ball with holes. It is a game that is appropriate for players of all ages and skill levels. This may be why it’s so popular for the 55+ community – nearly anyone can learn how to play!

Rules for Pickleball are simple, making it a great introductory sport. It can also be quite the challenging, fast-paced, and competitive game when people become more experienced at playing.

When it comes to the skills necessary to play, no extensive training is required. The sport involves two, three, or four players.

The Basics of Pickleball

1. A fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.
2. Played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a slightly modified tennis net.
3. Played with a paddle and a plastic ball.

The Court

A pickleball court is the same size as a doubles badminton court and measures 20×44 feet. In pickleball, the same court is used for both singles and doubles play.

The court is striped like a tennis court with right and left service courts and a 7-foot non-volley zone in front of the net (referred to as the “kitchen").

How to Play Pickleball

Where Did Pickle Ball Come From?

Pickleball was invented in 1965 (the same year Medicare was introduced!) on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle, WA.

Three dads; Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum, whose kids were bored with their usual summertime activities, are credited with creating the game.

Why is Pickleball So Popular?

What’s the big deal with pickleball? Perhaps the popularity of pickleball is due to the social aspect of the game and ability to spend time outdoors. During the pandemic, more than a million Americans began playing it, with stars and athletes picking it up along with grandparents, parents, and children, often together, making it a beautifully multi-generational game.

When the pandemic struck, many people were craving a sense of community as well as the ability to connect. Physical and mental health were at an all-time low, increasing the search for hobbies that encouraged people to seek camaraderie.

Pickleball offered it all in an outdoor and socially distanced setting. It makes a lot of sense that pickleball is so loved here in Austin, Texas. Pickleball is a game that’s centered around community, amusement, and the outdoors, the perfect activity for the people of our city.

Why is Pickleball is the Perfect Sport for the Senior Population?

For most people, playing sports ends after high school and college. Maybe you played some kickball or softball in your 20s or 30s or gave golf a shot later in life. And maybe, if you’re careful with your body, you can even play around some in your 40s and 50s. But, neither of those really get your body moving or your competitive juices flowing like sports in your younger days did.

With less and less activity over time, our bodies start to get used to a more sedentary lifestyle and finding that joy of sport no longer becomes a priority. Pickleball changed all of that when it came on the scene.

Over the last five or six years, more and more people have discovered the fun and benefits that pickleball brings. In a recent study, playing pickleball has been shown to reduce blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, and even help people battle depression.

Pickleball is Accessible and Inexpensive!

One of the significant factors contributing to the popularity of pickleball is how easily accessible it is to all ages. This is not by accident. The creators of pickleball wanted something for the entire family to do together.

So, it’s very common to see all ages out there on the courts. Some are former athletes who can no longer participate in their sports, but others are people who just want something fun and active to do with others.

Another factor to consider in its popularity is the low cost of entry. Because of demand, many public parks and tennis courts have converted their grounds to cater to pickleball players, who can show up and play for free.

Balls and rackets can be purchased from many big-box retailers for just a $30 to $40 investment. And really, that’s all you need!

Pickleball is a Social Activity

About 13.8 million older adults live alone. So for some, that social interaction on the Pickleball court might be the only time they spend talking with other people throughout the week.

And meeting new people and developing friendships has been shown to enrich our lives and improve our health. Additionally, as we age, regardless of how lively or friendly someone is, making new friends can be hard. Especially friends to sweat and be active with.

For those who grew up playing sports, it’s challenging to replace that camaraderie you get from having teammates. Pickleball, especially if you play doubles, can provide those opportunities.

Pickleball Helps Seniors Stay Active, Social, and Keeps the Mind Sharp!

Pickleball is especially beneficial to seniors as a low impact sport. Pickleball courts are 44 feet long and 20 feet wide. This is almost half the size of a tennis court. A smaller court means less running and wear and tear on the body and joints.

Yet, you still get the cardiovascular benefits of quick bursts of action and an aerobic workout. High intensity, low impact is one of the best ways to work out your body long-term and improve your health, whether you are young or trying to stay young at heart.

Even the equipment has less of an impact on your body than tennis and other sports:

  • The paddle is light and without strings, which reduces the exertion on your arms, wrists, and shoulders.
  • The ball is hollow and very light, which again limits its impact when hitting it.
  • Since serving and most of your hits will come from an underhand motion, pickleball also removes overhead shots that could cause strain on your shoulders.

Other Benefits of Pickleball for a Senior

1. Improves Blood Flow to the Brain
Running around on a pickleball court gets your heart pumping, which boosts blood flow to the brain. This increases the supply of oxygen, glucose, and nutrients to the organ between your ears, enhancing overall brain health.

2. Enhances Cerebellum Function
The footwork and hand-eye coordination required to play pickleball activate the cerebellum, an area at the back bottom of the brain involved in cognitive flexibility and processing speed.

3. Increases Gray Matter
Research shows that physical activity that requires planning—such as deciding whether to smash the ball or dink it softly over the net—and complex movements result in higher gray matter volume.

4. Strengthens the Hippocampus
Getting your body moving protects the hippocampus, structures located within the temporal lobes that are involved in the formation of memories. Pickleball also gives your memory a workout by making players remember the score and whose serve it is.

5. Produces Mood-Boosting Neurochemicals
Playing heart-pumping sports like pickleball allows more of the natural mood-enhancing amino acid L-tryptophan to enter the brain. L-tryptophan is the precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin that helps balance moods. Decades of research show that physical activities such as pickleball also help alleviate depression and anxiety.

6. Reduces Cognitive Impairment
Physical exercise of any kind, such as pickleball, helps protect against cognitive decline and dementia, according to decades of research.

7. Keeps the Brain Younger
The social bonding that comes with playing a group activity like pickleball helps combat loneliness and boosts mood. That’s not all. Research suggests that social connections preserve the mind.

Places to Play Pickleball in Austin

While there are numerous Pickleball courts and clubs to get your “dink” (a special shot) on all over town, there are also several bars, restaurants, breweries, and other locations in the Central Texas area where you can eat and drink while enjoying a game of Pickleball.

There are plenty of places where you can paddle about now and even more Pickleball eateries being developed here in Austin, expanding the places to play Pickleball in Austin.

Recreational Centers/Parks

South Austin Recreation Center is located on 10 acres in South Austin just south of Oltorf off Cumberland Dr.

Austin Tennis and Pickleball Center is the largest public center in Austin with 10 tournament standard, lighted tennis courts, and 8 lighted pickleball courts.

Joslin Park Tennis Courts: 2111 Cimarron Trail, Ausitn TX

Pan American Neighborhood Park: 2100 E St. Austin TX

Hancock Recreation Center: 811 E 41st Street

Rosewood Neighborhood Park: 2300 Rosewood Ave

And many more!

Eateries and Bars

Dreamland is basically an adult-only playground full of music, art, games, food, and sports nestled on 86 acres in the Hill Country. There are 16 Pickleball courts and mini golf, among other activities and points of interest.

Bouldin Acres is a South Austin bar offering two Pickleball courts, fire pits, other games and food trucks.

Austin FC enthusiasts can enjoy playing Pickleball at the Parmer North park venue, The Pitch, where there are three courts and four onsite restaurants, as well a coffee shop and two bars.

The Fieldhouse at the Crossover is located in Cedar Park and offers a little something for everyone, from volleyball courts to games for children, and, of course, Pickleball. There are two Pickleball courts, two outdoor bars, one indoor bar, a covered patio, and a huge, lush lawn with one outdoor television.

Frontyard Brewing, located in Spicewood, offers six outdoor Pickleball courts.

5 Soul Wine Co may be a perfect spot for the wine-drinking Pickleball enthusiasts. Located in Spicewood, this bar has four outdoor Pickleball courts available. Besides Pickleball, there’s a huge open lawn, multiple televisions, and a fireplaces

Lake Travis Biergarten offers 4 Pickleball courts. Expect Altstadt German-style beers and rotating food trucks.

Resorts and Hotels

For something off the beaten path, drive south to Kyle for a serene pickleball experience at the Sage Hill Inn & Spa. With four lighted pickleball courts and an airy pavilion, it’s easy to dink and drink the day away on this 88-acre property. While guests can enjoy the pickleball courts, the public can also join in on the fun during weekly pickleball clinics.

The Horseshoe Bay resort offers eight pickleball courts in addition to its 14 hard and clay tennis courts, so you can master whichever netted sport you like. Lessons are also available. There are also six food and beverage spots to choose from, with both casual and upscale options spanning Hill Country cuisine, barbecue, seafood, steaks, burgers, pizza, beers, cocktails, and more.

Many Pickleball-themed Restaurants Swinging into Austin!

Three restaurant-sports complex hybrids, called the "Electric Pickle" are expected to open in the next year. The Cedar Park location on 580 Spanish Oaks Street is set to be the first open, slated for the end of 2022.

The exact locations for the other two in Bee Cave and on Burnet Road in North Austin have not been revealed but are expected to open in 2023.

Each complex will have 12 pickleball courts, a two-story restaurant complete with a patio and rooftop bar, cornhole and bocce ball courts, a space for live music and fitness classes.

Another exciting place to play Pickleball in Austin is Austin Pickle Ranch, an estate that will feature over 30 pickleball courts and additional spaces for other outdoor amusements like sand volleyball, pilates, and yoga.

Try Pickleball as a Way to Stay Healthy

It’s inexpensive, fun, and just about perfect for anybody. If you haven’t tried Pickleball yet, be sure to check out one of the spots we mentioned!

At JBird Insurance Group, we are invested in helping Medicare-age folks live a healthy, happy life. Having appropriate healthcare access through an affordable Medicare plan is only one part of living a healthy life. Finding ways to connect with others while exercising is also an important component of health.

If you’ve tried this new sport and have a favorite place to play Pickleball in austin, be sure to comment on Facebook or drop us a line and let us know!

And, as always, we are here for any Medicare questions or concerns you have at any time. Just give us a call at 512-666-7785.