Tennis, as anyone who has picked up the game will tell you, can take years to master. It would be safe to say that all players \u2014 from the weekend rank amateur to Rafael Nadal \u2014 think they must improve their game. Enter pickleball, the paddle-and-ball sport poised to sweeping the nation \u2014 a nation that\u2019s getting older and less inclined to make a commitment to sports that require strength, speed and coordination. Problem is, there aren\u2019t too many dedicated pickleball courts out there. Sometime this summer, however, Milford will be getting eight new pickleball courts. They\u2019re under construction at Eisenhower Park, along with a new splash pad and new restrooms. The $1 million project, funded mostly by a state grant, should be ready in time for the Independence Day holiday or soon thereafter, Mayor Benjamin Blake said. \u201cIt\u2019s a sport for everyone,\u201d said Director of Recreation Paul Piscitelli. \u201cGrandparents can play it with their grandchildren. It\u2019s good for any skill level.\u201d City officials say that these improvements were first conceived about 10 years ago, and about 5 years ago, pickleball was added, owing to increasing demand. City Hall said that the pickleball court idea got a push from local tennis pro Diane Sullivan, who has become something of a Johnny Appleseed for the sport in the state. \u201cI found that people can pick up pickleball a lot faster than tennis,\u201d Sullivan said. \u201cIt\u2019s a sport in which you can get a workout, and it\u2019s more of a social sport \u2014 the court\u2019s about one third the size of a tennis court so more conversations happen.\u201d She said that she\u2019s approached about 10 senior centers and country clubs in the state and some of them have taken the court-construction plunge. One was Fairfield\u2019s Bigelow Center for Senior Activities. \u201cIn Fairfield, we started with six players, and now there\u2019s about 500 playing there on their dedicated courts,\u201d she said. \u201cFor a time, we were adding pickleball court lines to some tennis courts to make them dual-purpose,\u201d Piscitelli said. \u201cIt soon became apparent that the city needed its own purpose-built pickleball courts.\u201d According to the USA Pickleball Association, the sport was invented in 1965 by three dads who lived on Bainbridge Island, off the coast of Seattle, Wash. Lore has it that pickleball was named after Pickles, a dog owned by one of the inventors of the game. The court is the same size as a doubles badminton court, measuring 20 by 44 feet. The net is a little lower than a tennis net \u2014 36 inches high at the ends, draping to 34 inches in the middle. However, a tennis court can be used if it has lines for pickleball, too. The paddle looks like an enlarged table tennis paddle and the ball is similar in construction to a Wiffle ball, only smaller. As with tennis rackets, the paddles can be had in exotic materials for those seeking an edge (if only psychological) over their opponents. The ball used for indoor play is a little different, and there are \u201cquiet\u201d balls available too. Scoring is similar to the old-style badminton rules \u2014 your side has to serve to score a point. The first side to get 11 points, with at least a two-point advantage, wins. \u201cPeople want to play things quickly,\u201d Sullivan said. There are improvements coming soon, too, for the dog park across the street from Eisenhower Park, Blake said. \u201cWe\u2019ll have an irrigation system and a separate area for smaller dogs,\u201d he said.