Pickleball Is Taking Missouri By Storm

It took about a decade for pickleball to sweep Missouri. With more than 100 locations developed since 2010, Missouri might just have the fastest-growing pickleball community in the country. The sport has become so popular that a Kansas City restaurant called Chicken N Pickle opened four indoor and four outdoor courts to complement the kitchen and bar.

Pickleball—named after the dog of one of the families who invented the game in 1965—is a hybrid of tennis, Ping-Pong, and badminton. It’s played both indoors and outdoors on courts that resemble mini tennis courts. With only a few supplies necessary—paddles, a plastic ball, a court, and a couple of friends—the game has been embraced by casual players and serious competitors.

The small court size and easy-to-grasp rules make it appealing for a wide variety of people, from kids to middle-aged folks to centenarians (seriously—there are tournament brackets for people older than 100). “It’s a social sport,” says St. Louisan Cindy Butler, the USA Pickleball Association’s (USAPA) Missouri ambassador. “Pickleball people are the nicest people.”

To find a court or people to partner with, go to USAPA.org and click on “place to play.” There’s also contact information for your area’s ambassador, who can help you get the ball rolling—or dinking.