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Pickleball 101: 5 Tips for Beginners

It's about time you started to play pickleball which is among the fastest growing sports (if not THE fastest growing sport.) Since wants to let you in on the fun, here is pickleball 101: 5 tips for beginners.

People play pickleball for any number of reasons. It's a great workout for men and women of all ages, it's simple to learn, it is super cheap to get started and more!

5 Reasons to Play Pickleball

1). Fun for All

As you are about to discover, this game is growing quickly because it was originally designed to be a game anybody (and we mean anybody) can play. This is a highly social game played by both men and women and usually as a doubles contest.

2). Easy to Learn

Before pickleball 101, most people are skeptical. They say things like, "I'm a klutz," or "I've never played a sport," or even, "I've tried other sports and hated it."

Many if not most pickleball players self-describe as non-athletes and that is completely fine. Most people are interested in the social interaction and for the main reason, see #1.

3). Low Cost to No Cost

Playing pickleball requires very little money up front and if you have friends playing there is a very good chance you can get started for free. Pickleball equipment starts with a pickleball court and pickleball net.

The Court

A court is the same size as a badminton court and about one quarter of the size of a tennis court. You could set one up in your driveway if you want to.

These are probably things that exist in your local public park with lines sometimes painted on a tennis court and cost nothing to use. Pickleball courts are popping up all over and you can consult our Pickleball Courts Near Me for some tips on finding a pickleball court.

Pickleball Paddles

You do have to have pickleball paddles for each player and an official ball. But your friends who have been bugging you to play all have extra pickleball equipment laying around so use theirs!

No, you can't use a ping pong paddle as a table tennis paddle is too small and too fragile and you can't make one yourself. When you decide you want your own paddle, wooden paddles are the cheapest but do yourself a favor and spring for a decent composite or graphite model. You deserve it!

The Ball

The wiffle ball you used in your backyard to throw amazing curve balls will not work. The amount of ball bounce is deliberately low, and a new ball is cheap. Again, your friends have extras.

4). Pickleball Rules

In pickleball 101, we won't go into detail but see our Guide to Pickleball Rules for details. Here's few to get you started:


Serve from behind the baseline to the opposing team member on the opposite side from you. They have to let it bounce and you have to let the return bounce once too. (Two Bounce Rule.)

The first server on the serving team keeps serving from the serving side moving to the opposing side of the court until they miss the correct box, or the receiving team wins the point.

When playing doubles pickleball, the partner takes over if you fail to win the point. Then it goes over to the other side of the net as a side out until both of them fail to win a point on their side of the court.

The Kitchen

The box near the net is the non-volley zone (also known as the kitchen). You can't hit the ball in the air if you are touching any part of the kitchen on your side of the net. You can go in the non-volley zone if the ball bounces.


A pickleball game is usually played where 15 points wins in a tournament or to 11 in more casual play. Scoring only takes place if the server or her partner wins the point.

5). Exercise

You will get some real exercise and just enough to feel good about the movement and moderate exertion.

5 Tips for Beginner Pickleball Players

1). Experience Does Not Matter

Pickleball is its own game with its own set of skills. If you play another racquet sport like tennis, your eye to hand coordination may help you hit the ball, but it really only helps you a limited amount.

2). Some Equipment Matters - Sometimes

When getting started in this sport equipment doesn't matter much. But do get yourself the right kind of shoes. Pickleball shoes are great and tennis shoes will do, but running shoes are not optimum as they do not give you the side support that is important.

Don't compete in pickleball with your kid's wiffle balls as this does make a difference. And getting your own paddle will be something you will want to hit with sooner as opposed to later.

3). Learn Scoring and Other Basic Rules

You don't have to memorize the official USA Pickleball Association rule book. But scoring can get a little confusing especially when you are the server.

4). Get the Ball In

Especially in doubles when your partner relies on you to get the serve in play, don't worry about hitting winners or aces. As the server you get the point rolling and if you are constantly responsible for hitting a side out, pickleball can get frustrating. Let the other team make the mistakes.

5). Enjoy Yourself

Remember that pickleball is first, second and last all about the enjoyment. Laugh loud and often.

Questions? is your home for everything you need for pickleball. Balls, shoes, and a huge selection of paddles - you name it we've got it.

Our friendly pickleball experts are here to take your calls and answer questions. We are here to help!

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