LOVES PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — Pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in America, is expanding into the Rockford area in the form of a new indoor facility.
Victory Pickleball will open in the former Victory Sports Complex at 7003 N. Alpine Road next week.
The $3 million renovation will feature 16 courts, which can be reserved by players ahead of time; an arcade center; plus food and beverages.
Owner Tim Ancona, former tennis coach at Rockford Christian, said he believes Pickleball is the perfect sport for all ages to play.
“In 30 minutes what I can promise you is that you’ll learn the game,” he said. “You’ll say, ‘I’m having fun, I’m actually hitting the ball in, I look like I can actually get better, I feel like I can get better if I work at this,’ and there’s no other sport like that. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing with a 12-year-old, who I’ve played with before, or my father, who’s in his 80s and who I’ve played with, everyone can learn it quickly and have fun.”
Pickleball originated in 1965 as a badminton-style game played with a lowered net.
The sport garnered millions of new players during the pandemic, and now has roughly 36.5 million participants nationwide, growing 158.6% since 2020.
Victory Pickleball’s first tournament is set to kick off on September 22nd.