Pickleball Open Play-A beginners guide
By: CJ Johnson | April 8, 2023 |

Pickleball Open Play – A Beginner’s Guide

Pickleball is a fun and social sport that’s becoming increasingly popular in communities across the world. If you’re interested in trying out the sport, open play is a great way to get started. In this guide, we’ll show you how to find open-play opportunities and what to expect when you get there.

What is open play?

Open play is a casual setting where players of all levels can come together to play pickleball. In some areas, open play is also called rec or recreational play but a rose of any other name is still a rose. You show up at a designated time and location and put your paddle into the rotation to play. This is a great way to meet new people, get some exercise, and improve your game.

Where can you find rec play opportunities?

The first place to check is your local community centers, recreation centers, and fitness centers. They often offer rec play days and times for pickleball. You can also check out the YMCA or Lifetime Fitness Center for open play opportunities. Another great resource is Places2Play.org, where you can find different places in your community that offer rec play opportunities, including outdoor courts.

When you call or email to find out about open play, make sure to ask about levels. It’s important to know if it’s okay to show up as a beginner player, or if they have certain times or days reserved for different groups of players. You also want to ask about equipment, such as whether you need to bring your own paddle or if they have paddles available. Lastly, ask about local clinics. Many facilities offer free clinics for beginners, so you can learn how to play or improve your game.

What should you expect at open play?

When you arrive at the facility for rec play, look for a group of players and ask about the rules and how to get involved in the rotation. Pickleball players are generally friendly and welcoming, especially to new players. Ask them where to put your paddle, how to play, and how to get in the rotation.

If you’re new to the sport, it’s a good idea to check out the free Getting Started program we offer. This free program offers a beginner’s guide and instructional videos that cover the basics of scoring, serving, and other essential aspects of the game. By learning about the game beforehand, you’ll feel more comfortable when you go out and play.

Not sure about attending your first open play? Here’s what Deborah had to say about her first rec play game

In conclusion, open play is an excellent way to get started with pickleball. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, you’ll have fun, meet new people, and improve your game. So, grab your paddle and join the fun!

CJ Johnson

Hey there — I’m a professional three-sport athlete and coach who has spent my entire adult life earning a living from playing and coaching sports. Since I started coaching more than three decades ago, one thing has remained the same: My commitment to see students not as they are but as what they can become and to move heaven and earth to help them realize their untapped potential. You should know that when it comes to helping pickleball players over 50 live their best lives on and off the courts, I'm an expert. Good pickleball is not just technique; it's the mind and body working holistically. That's why I'm also a personal trainer and weight management specialist. When I’m chillin', you'll find me watching Star Trek with my husband John and our two fur babies, Shirley and Ralph. (Yes, Happy Days)