Coming soon: Portland’s first indoor pickleball-only recreation center

The Drop Shot will host several pickleball pop-up events where people can experience the popular game and support the woman-owned business venture.

A person in shorts and athletic shoes prepares to serve a yellow plastic ball in an indoor gym.

“It’s so fun it almost becomes your personality, you want to talk about it all the time and play as much as you can,” says Lindsay Noack, The Drop Shot co-founder.

Photo by Lindsay Noack/The Drop Shot

Pickleball. You’ve heard about itlike, a lot lately — and maybe you’ve even played it. In a town with a proven affinity for pickles and ball sports, we aren’t overly surprised that the term “pickleball” is basically trending in Portland circles. But what exactly is it? And how can newbies pick up a paddle and smash some plastic balls?

When a local woman-owned business called The Drop Shot reached out to us about its plans to build the city’s first indoor pickleball-only recreation center, we seized the opportunity to learn more. Co-founder Lindsay Noack explained that the sport — which started in the 1960s in Washington — can basically be played in any open, flat space and combines elements of badminton, ping pong, and tennis.

Four people pose for a photo next to a low net on an outdoor court while holding paddles.

You’ll find outdoor pickleball courts around Portland, including at Columbia Park & Annex, Gabriel Park, and Portland Tennis Center.

Photo by @gregdavispsu

Noack attributes pickleball’s rise in popularity, in part, to the pandemic. People sought out ways to stay active and connect with others — and found something special in the sport. She believes Portland needs an accessible, welcoming, easy-to-learn game now more than ever. Enter: The Drop Shot. She hatched the business idea last summer after taking beginner pickleball lessons.

“What really opened my eyes was that you could be 8 or 80 and still be competitive,” she said. “It wasn’t a sport where age or ability discouraged participation. You don’t have to be the fastest or the strongest to be successful.”

Two people stand side by side for a photo in front of a photo backdrop with the words "Sport Oregon" and "She Flies"

The Drop Shot founders, Maggie Deeks (left) and Lindsay Noack.

Photo by Lindsay Noack/The Drop Shot

Noack and her friend/business partner Maggie Deeks are working to open an indoor recreation center in the Central Eastside area by late summer that will house at least 10 indoor pickleball courts. It will welcome players of all ages — particularly women and gender-expansive people — to compete in a fun environment.

You can try the sport and learn more about supporting The Drop Shot at its first pickleball pop-up event Friday, March 10, 6-9 p.m., and Saturday, March 11, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., at Lloyd Center.

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