Columbus residents are invited to pick up a paddle and learn how to play a trendy sport that is new to the area — pickleball.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department has opened new pickleball courts in Donner Park which are getting some use, said Carly Freeman, parks marketing coordinator.

But to help novices navigate the nuances of this sport, an information session has been set up to explain the game. Two additional sessions are planned to help people learn to play pickleball out on the courts.

The information session will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the courts in Donner Park.

There, participants will learn the rules, pickleball terms, and skill development and watch a game demonstration.

In sessions at 9 a.m. Aug. 22 and 5:30 p.m. Aug. 25, participants can play on the court with instructors nearby to help them learn the game, Freeman said.

All sessions are free and open to anyone.

Pickleball is played on a 20-foot by 44-foot court with two or four people. It’s a paddle sport that combines aspects of tennis, badminton and pingpong.

Players use a wooden or composite paddle and a ball with holes, similar to a whiffleball.

For prospective players who might not want to invest in equipment before exploring how the game is played, the parks department has about 10 paddles that can be used at the workshops, Freeman said.

Area sporting goods stores are carrying pickleball equipment, she said.

The parks department hopes to attract more people of all ages to the game, Freeman said.

Its small court doesn’t require as much running as would be required on a full-size tennis court, she said.

The city invested about $14,000 in creating the new courts, located where shuffleboard courts previously had been.

Partnerships to offer programming with Mill Race Center and other groups are being pursued, parks officials said.

How to learn more

To learn more about the information and practice sessions for Columbus Parks and Recreation pickleball sessions, call 812-376-2680 or visit

If you go

What: Learn about pickleball sessions

When: Information meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the pickleball courts (old shuffleboard area) in Donner Park. Playing sessions will be offered at 9 a.m. Aug. 22 and 5:30 p.m. Aug. 25

Sponsored by: Columbus Parks and Recreation

How much: Free, the parks department has about 10 paddles that may be borrowed for the sessions, or bring your own.

Also: Parks officials will set up a tent for shade and provide water at all sessions at Donner Park.

Author photo
Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.