Highland Springs' New Pickleball Court Creates Friendships and Fun

By Susan Ingram
July 9, 2024
Indoor pickleball court provides residents with fitness, fun at Highland Springs in North Dallas.

A passion for pickleball is sweeping the nation, and Highland Springs, the Erickson Senior Living community in North Dallas, Tex., is no exception.

"It's just plain old fun!" says pickleball player Linda Matzen, who moved to the active, vibrant community seven years ago.

As in tennis, players stand on opposite sides of a court and hit a plastic ball back and forth with hard paddles. "But unlike racquetball, a pretty aggressive game, pickleball has a relaxed pace," she notes.

Now that Highland Springs has a pickleball court of its own, beginners and experts alike are always stopping by to get in some practice swings--and even start a game or two.  

"The game's slower pace and the convenience of the court makes it easy for everyone to get in on the fun," says Linda.

'Hooked from the start'

Linda, a self-proclaimed exercise fanatic, had never picked up any kind of racquet until a few years ago, when a local gym started offering pickleball.

"I decided to give it a try and went in with an open mind. I was hooked from the start!" she recalls. "Any tennis or racquetball player will catch on quickly, but you don't need experience to play."

Soon after, she joined a pickleball group at her church--until Highland Springs' new indoor pickleball court became a reality in November 2023.

"Once everything was up and running," says Fitness Manager Amber Newman, "pickleball totally exploded on campus. A lot of residents are passionate about the sport!"

"Being able to walk to the court from my apartment home is a game changer," says Linda.

Planned to perfection

The new indoor court, designed with special flooring that allows for a bit more bounce, was built into Highland Springs' development plan for its newest neighborhood.

"Residents were anticipating the court for many months. We wanted to do it right, so a lot of thought and planning went into it," says Newman. "The special flooring is really impressive. It has a bit more 'give,' making it safer than a true hardwood court and better on players' joints."

Trying something new

As construction was wrapping up, Newman worked with residents and the Resident Life team to select and procure equipment, including paddles, balls, and nets.

The court was soon busy with players every day.

"At our very first orientation, 60 people showed up!" she says. "We showed them how the game is played. If anyone was interested in participating, they were welcome to hop on the court. If people preferred to watch, they could watch."

Newman adds, "It was wonderful seeing the community come together on the court eager to try something new."

Play how you practice

To manage the court's high demand after the grand opening, a daily schedule was set up: 12 to 2 p.m. for beginners and 2 to 4 p.m. for intermediate players.

Residents also enjoy playing with Highland Springs staff members several evenings each week.

"We also host monthly drills, which residents speak highly of. It's a chance for them to improve their reaction time and hand-eye coordination before stepping into a game," says Newman. "Linda has been a great help. She's always eager to bring in new faces."

"Some of us just don't move as fast as we used to!" jokes Linda. "The drills help everyone get up to speed."

She continues, "Amber has had a few beginner classes, too, and many residents have returned to play regularly after that. We invite everyone who's peeking in the door to come in and watch or play with us. It's a welcoming environment."

Having fun together

Newman notes that the most important aspect of the new court is that it created yet another opportunity for residents to stay active and engaged.

"It's a judgment-free zone; a very social place to just join in and enjoy fellowship with other residents and staff," she says. "If you're open to trying something new, you'll have a boatload of fun."

Linda, who still plays at her church on Tuesdays and Thursdays, is happy to see that the court has become a community hot spot.

"Physically, pickleball is a good workout. It improves your cardiovascular health, along with your balance, strength, and agility," says Linda. "But it's also a social sport. The camaraderie and making connections with others is half the fun!"

To learn more about affordable, independent senior living at Highland Springs, request your free brochure to get the scoop on amenities, floor plans, and so much more.