Pickleball might be your favorite sport and you just don't know it yet.

Pickleball is everywhere right now. The game was invented in 1965. It received a slight bump in local and national attention about 25 years ago and has skyrocketed in popularity over the last 5 and especially over the pandemic. 

Joe Dredge
Joe Dredge

The popularity is easy to see why once you know a little bit about the sport. It's kind of a combination of ping pong and tennis played with a hard wiffle ball. It's easy to learn but difficult to master which makes it perfect for all skill levels.

There's even a professional Pickleball Tour that gets pretty intense.

SIDE NOTE: There used to be a little bit of a war between the pickleball community and the tennis community. The pickleballers were playing on tennis courts and the hard plastic ball would damage the playing surface (at least that's what the tennis people said.) It got to the point that signs used to be posted at a bunch of area tennis courts banning pickleball and the police were even involved in one incident I remember.

Things have changed. Now there are at least 11 pickleball courts in northern Illinois with more on the way.

Here's where you can try out this exploding sport in the Rockford area.


  • Belvidere Park - 6 outdoor courts - No fee
  • Rivers Edge Recreation Center - 3 indoor courts - $3 per person

Cherry Valley:

  • Baumann Park - 4 outdoor courts - No fee


  • Nick Saelens Memorial Park - 2 outdoor courts - No fee

Loves Park:

  • Darryl F. Lindberg Park - 6 outdoor courts - No fee
  • Netlynx - 5 indoor courts - $5 per person


  • Sinnissippi Park - 6 outdoor courts - No fee
  • UW Health Sports Factory - 12 indoor courts - $6 per person


  • Settler's Park - 2 outdoor courts - No fee

South Beloit:

  • South Beloit Municipal Park - 2 outdoor courts - No fee

Head over to the Rockford Pickleball Website for more information on these locations.

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