By Sara Wiercinski
Walk into SW19 Academy, and you’ll hear upbeat tunes and banging of tennis rackets and pickleball paddles.
Located in part of the old US Toy building at I-435 and State Line Road, SW19’s fun environment and convenient court access attract players of all types.
Owner Daryl Wyatt bought the club in May 2022. The previous owners started with only tennis courts then added pickleball. Wyatt, a former tennis professional, says “Pickleball itself has grown so much as a sport. There’s a lot of demand here.”
SW19 players pay for court time, lessons, events or leagues, with no monthly fees. Wyatt explains, “Membership fees can become a barrier, leaving some people out. This way, we get them here and interested. Particularly for tennis when you may only want to play once a week, membership prices can get overwhelming.”
In addition to tennis, pickleball is popular at SW19. “Pickleball is a great workout,” says Wyatt. “The game can be played fast or slow, with players of mixed abilities. You can improve without having to cover an entire court.”
Wyatt says recently one of his clients switched from tennis to pickleball after knee replacement surgery, looking to stay active with less pressure on the joints.
Pickleball’s social aspects make it an attractive sport. Players switch pairings, which encourages teamwork and mingling. It’s generally less competitive than tennis. League play is open to players of all skill levels.
SW19 Academy offers court and paddle rental, open play sessions, clinics, league play and special events, such as kids’ nights out and holiday tournaments. Wyatt plans to add a snack bar on site to create a gathering space for players. He wants to add after-hours events with DJs.
So how does one learn to play pickleball? Wyatt has recommendations:
“First, try a beginner class to learn the rules and scoring, because it’s different than tennis. Then jump into open play, and that can be anywhere. People are generally very helpful and are glad to offer tips to new players.”
When asked about SW19’s meaning, Wyatt smiles: “It’s the postal code for Wimbledon,” he says. “Even if you play tennis, it may not click unless you think about it.”
SW19 Academy is located at 2008 W. 103rd Terrace in Leawood. For more information, visit sw19academy.com.