World Pickleball Day was observed a couple of weeks ago, on October 10. But for a growing number of people with limb difference, any day—or every day—can be pickleball day. Amputees who’ve taken up the game (and their numbers are rapidly growing) say pickleball offers all sorts of benefits, both physical and social. It’s easy to learn, it’s accessible to athletes of all ability levels, and it doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment. You can play on a prosthetic leg or in a wheelchair, and limb-different players can (and routinely do) compete against able-bodied pickleballers. The November print edition of Amplitude lists four reasons you should start playing pickleball . . . . and one reason you shouldn’t. (The magazine doesn’t drop for another week, but here’s a sneak preview of that article.)
Our purpose here is to help you find a program near you that’s specifically designed to introduce pickleball to adaptive players. How-to clinics for amputees are happening with increasing regularity. Mary Free Bed hosted an adaptive clinic earlier this month in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a few days ago Hanger co-sponsored an event in Florida with Kemit-Amon Lewis, a quadruple amputee and former Davis Cup tennis player. Wiggle Your Toes hosted two pickleball events for amputees a while back in the Twin Cities, and they have another event coming up in Austin, Texas on November 11 (see below).
We scoured the web to find some programs scheduled for upcoming weeks at places around the country. They’re listed below. (We’re certain this is far from a complete list, so if we overlooked your event, send us an email and we’ll make sure it gets added.) If you don’t find any opportunities in your neighborhood on the list below, no worries—just head over to places2play.org and type in your zip code. The facilities cataloged there aren’t disability-specific, but some of them have inclusive/adaptive programming, and nearly all will cheerfully accommodate players with disabilities. As we noted above, “hybrid” competition (in which players with and without disabilities share the court) is pretty commonplace.
SURPRISE. The city recreation district is hosting an Adaptive Pickleball League every Tuesday this fall, beginning on November 1. Registration is $25; paddles and pickleballs are provided.
ANAHEIM. Adaptive players are welcome at the Anaheim Tennis and Pickleball Center at 975 South State College Boulevard. While there are no adaptive-only clinics or sessions, the courts are wheelchair-accessible and open to all comers.
PALM DESERT. The Desert Recreation District will hold adaptive pickleball classes every Thursday in December. The November classes sold out, and there are only three spots left in the December class as of this writing, so don’t delay.
WEST CARMEL. RHI Sports is hosting a six-week hybrid pickleball class for adaptive and able-bodied players beginning on November 3. It’s held every Thursday (excluding Thanksgiving) at the Monon Center, 1195 Central Park Drive East. Cost is $50 ($20 for veterans).
LOUISVILLE. Berrytown Recreation Center, an adaptive/inclusive facility at 1300 Heafer Road, has three indoor pickleball courts that are open Wednesday and Friday mornings.
NEW ORLEANS. Military Adaptive Court Sports hosts weekly pickleball clinics for for veterans with visible and invisible injuries. The clinics are free and take place every Friday morning at the New Orleans VA Medication Center at 2400 Canal Street.
BETHEL. Maine Adaptive holds friendly pickleball sessions on outdoor courts in Bethel, New Gloucester, and elsewhere. Their program is on hold for the rest of this year, but it will resume when the warm weather returns next spring.
BOSTON METRO. The Spaulding Adaptive Sports Centers (affiliated with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital) will hold numerous pickleball clinics through early December at multiple locations (including Peabody, Andover, and Plymouth). Cost is $10 per clinic; consult the SASC calendar for dates and locations.
LAS VEGAS. Military Adaptive Court Sports hosts weekly pickleball clinics for for veterans with visible and invisible injuries. The clinics are free and take place every Tuesday morning at Dula Community Center at 451 E. Bonanza Road.
NEW YORK CITY. Adaptive pickleball players are welcome at all five of the Department of Parks & Rec’s Adaptive Hubs. In addition, the Fort Hamilton Senior Rec Center in Brooklyn offers beginner pickleball clinics every Monday and Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m. through the end of the year.
SIMCOE. Just across the lake from Buffalo, the Norfolk County recreation department holds adaptive pickleball sessions every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Come to Simcoe Recreation Centre at 182 South Drive; cost is $5.
PITTSBURGH. On November 12, Side Aht Pickleball will host Pickleball for All, a free event geared toward introducing the sport to new players with disabilities. It takes place from 12 to 4 pm at Kingsley Association Gym, 6435 Frankstown Avenue.
GREENVILLE. A new nonprofit called Adaptive Pickleball regularly host free Pickleball Play Days for adaptive players of all ages. Their next event is tomorrow, October 27, at Southside Park, 417 Baldwin Road.
AUSTIN. Active Amputees of Austin and Wiggle Your Toes are co-hosting a free adaptive pickleball clinic on Friday, November 11. It takes place at Bouldin Acres, 2027 S. Lamar Boulevard.
LA CROSSE. The STAR Center’s final wheelchair pickleball session of the fall will take place on Sunday, October 30, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. These popular events have been held every Sunday in September and October at Central High School, 1801 Losey Boulevared. Cost is $30.