Pickleball – It’s the real dill!

Kimberly Ayson and Gillian Bui

   Rise and brine! Pickleball is taking North America by storm, and our city is no exception. Labeled by City Hall as “one of the fastest growing sports in Santa Clarita,” the racket sport was invented on an island off Washington in the summer of 1965, according to the official USA pickleball website. 

   A cross between tennis and ping pong, pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors, with two or four players hitting a plastic ball with perforated holes over a 36-inch net until one side violates a game rule. 

   Mike Titter, the Recreation Coordinator for the City of Santa Clarita, remarked on the activity’s boom: “Just by the sheer numbers. We’ve seen it grow and grow. We’ve had a lot of input from pickleball players wanting more courts, and more places to play. They talked about how crowded it is at the different places we have. We have expanded. We built three new courts in Sierra Vista Park and we’re going to be opening up four more courts at Bouquet.” 

   With the City of Santa Clarita providing more courts to accommodate an excess of players, Russell Westall, a West Ranch alumnus of 2022 and current employee of Sports Tutor, a pitching machine manufacturing company whose main seller is pickleball, explained the reasoning behind the expansion: “I think pickleball is the fastest growing sport because it doesn’t require a big court, and there isn’t much movement if you are just trying to mess around and have fun with friends. Anyone of any age can play and it brings people together to do something fun. Santa Clarita is even bigger because of all the new family’s coming to SCV and family’s can play together.” 

   Titter continued, “You don’t have to be super athletic to play, but you do get all the benefits of playing a sport and getting fitness. The rules are fairly simple, and it’s a very inclusive sport. The reason it’s so popular to get hooked on is because it’s a lot of fun. Also, you play with the community so you get to meet new players. It’s a very social activity.” 

   The Santa Clarita Valley Pickleball Facebook group currently boasts over a thousand active members, with daily posts ranging from asking for equipment advice to discussing local courts and organizing matches.

   Titter explained the current schedule for drop-in games throughout the city, describing that on Monday mornings the Newhall Community Center has indoor pickleball games, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is indoor pickleball at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex, and on Friday mornings there are pickleball games available at the Canyon Country Community center. 

   Aside from casual games during free play at the various courts around SCV, the city also hosts competitive tournaments a few times a year. The next upcoming tournament is set to be played the day before St. Patrick’s Day at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex. Whether one chooses to play casually or competitively, pickleball accommodates all levels of players. 

   West Ranch junior and avid pickleball player Logan Berkowitz described his introduction to the beloved game. “I started playing pickleball about three years ago. My grandparents have been playing pickleball for many years and got me and my cousin interested in playing. The more we played, the more we enjoyed [the sport]. It started to become a fun activity that we could do with our grandparents.”

   Although pickleball was initially popular among an older demographic of residents when it first appeared in Santa Clarita, the city’s growing number of new families has allowed the sport to reach a new generation of players of all ages. 


   Bringing communities together, pickleball has blossomed into one of the most popular activities in Santa Clarita due to its simplicity and enjoyability. Whether one is a pickleball pro and or a casual enjoyer, the pickleball courts have a spot for every resident in town. Titter proudly concluded, “Everyone should give it a try. You can go on the city’s website to see where it’s available and just come out and play.”