NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. – The Ocean State’s pickleball scene just got a major boost with the opening of Lil’ Rhody Pickle Ball, the state’s largest indoor dedicated facility for the popular paddle sport. The new venue welcomed its first players last month when it opened its doors in North Kingstown.
State-of-the-Art Courts and Amenities
The heart of Lil’ Rhody Pickle Ball is its five full-sized indoor courts specifically designed and equipped for pickleball. The cushioned sports flooring and pickleball nets transform the space into a pickleball paradise. The courts feature a durable SportMaster Pro surface to support all the quick starts, stops and lunges of a typical pickleball match. Large glass garage doors allow natural light to flood the courts during daytime play.
In addition to the courts, the new facility provides players with all the amenities they need. This includes a pro shop stocked with paddles, balls and other gear. Players can reserve court time online and take advantage of membership options starting at $39 per month.
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Welcoming Players of All Abilities
According to co-owner Richard Storti, Lil’ Rhody Pickle Ball aims to cultivate a community of players across the spectrum of experience levels.
“It’s a lot of high-level players and a lot of beginners,” Storti said.
He explained that the sport has exploded in popularity in recent years, attracting everyone from kids to seniors. Novices are flocking to the courts alongside seasoned competitors.
The 12,000-square-foot facility provides ample opportunity for players to be matched up with others of similar ability for friendly competition and skills development. Weekly tournaments are also in the works.
Passion Project Bringing People Together
Storti and business partner Kevin O’Brien share a passion for pickleball and saw the need for more dedicated facilities in Rhode Island. When the old Sears building became available just off Route 2 in North Kingstown, they knew they had found the perfect location.
The co-owners have poured time, money and elbow grease into retrofitting the space into a top-notch pickleball facility. Steven Handy, one of the regular players at Lil’ Rhody, appreciates their efforts.
“It’s great exercise, I’ve met some great people,” Handy said. He cited the social component as one of the perks of becoming part of the Lil’ Rhody community.
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Instruction for Beginners
While Lil’ Rhody welcomes hardcore competitors, the owners also want to introduce newcomers to the sport in a fun, supportive environment. Along with ample court time for new players to learn the game, the facility provides instruction for those who want to accelerate their skills.
There are beginner lessons, bootcamps and private coaching available. Trainers like Carter Wessman help players with no prior experience with racket sports get off to a good start with the basics.
“There’s a lot of people who really haven’t played any racket sports,” Wessman said. He focuses on improving hand-eye coordination, shot technique and footwork.
Come Try It Out!
Rhode Island’s close-knit pickleball community is thrilled to see the sport expanding its footprint with facilities like Lil’ Rhody. Anyone curious about pickleball is encouraged to stop by and check it out.
With courts specifically designed for the sport, knowledgeable staff and a welcoming atmosphere, Lil’ Rhody Pickle Ball has everything needed to foster enjoyment of pickleball for all ages and ability levels.