Desoto County News

Pickleball fever picking up in Hernando

Photo: Pickleball players take to the courts at the Gatorade Fieldhouse, where the facility can place 11 courts inside. (Courtesy photo)  

By Bailee Harris

Pickleball, a fusion of tennis and ping-pong, is rapidly increasing in popularity across DeSoto County locals. It’s especially catching on Hernando, where the Gatorade Fieldhouse is hosting pickleball with the ability to set up 11 courts set up inside its facility. At the same time, city officials say they have added a pickleball net to be available at the Church Park tennis courts for pickleball players to play outside.  

John Tague, a co-owner of Hernando Sportsplex that operates inside the Gatorade Fieldhouse, describes pickleball as a “racket sport played on a smaller court than tennis. It’s a sport that is easy to learn, fun to play, and it’s not overly demanding.” 

“Every day, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., it’s a five dollar entry fee and you play whoever is here,” Tague states. “We also offer memberships; for $40 a month you can come in unlimited for those times. On Wednesday nights and Sunday afternoons, we have open pickleball.” 

The age group that takes part in pickleball at the Hernando Sportsplex, ranging from 16-year-olds to 85-year-olds. 

“It’s one of the strangest sports where you can’t look across the net and have any idea how good that player is,” says Tague. 

Pickleball is growing elsewhere in DeSoto County, including at Snowden Grove Tennis Complex that has four outdoor pickleball nets, but they are only available if the weather permits. The climate-controlled comfort of the Fieldhouse and the number of courts truly sets it apart. 

“You get a lot of social interaction, a lot of community interaction, and it’s just a fun sport,” said Tague.  

USA Pickleball offers a primer on the game at their website.