Pickleball Tips For Beginners

By Kelley Boymer
6 Jun 2023
Pickleball Tips For Beginners

Pickleball is taking America by storm and becoming one of the most popular sports in the country. What was once considered an “old person sport” is now incredibly popular with players of all ages. In fact, pickleball is America’s fastest growing sport. What people love about Pickleball is how easy it is to play with a group of friends. You don’t need to be particularly skilled or athletic to participate. It’s a great way to build community and socialize with friends. I like to think of pickleball as a combination between tennis, badminton and ping-pong. It has a competitive aspect, but on a very low-risk, fun and easy-going scale. It doesn’t require a lot of cardio and can be played casually amongst friends.

Have you been wondering what all the pickleball hype is about? Learning a new sport can be a fun, exciting and sometimes overwhelming experience. Pickleball is fairly easy to learn but there are plenty of rules, techniques and strategies to understand. Today we’re sharing some pickleball tips for beginners. You’ll get the hang of it in no time!

Pickleball Tips for Beginners

Keeping It Simple

Pickleball Paddle & Ball

When you are first learning to play pickleball, keep things simple. Hit the ball and get used to the pickleball paddle and ball. If you play tennis, you will need to get used to the feeling of both. A pickleball paddle is smaller than a tennis racquet but larger than a ping-pong paddle. A pickleball ball is similar to a wiffle ball but slightly heavier.

Pickleball Court

After hitting the ball around for a bit, familiarize yourself with the pickleball court. A pickleball court is about half the size of a full tennis court. A tennis court is 36′ x 78′ and a pickleball court is 20′ x 44′. Similar to tennis there are 4 sections on each side with a net dividing the two sides. The upper section of the court closest to the net is the “kitchen”. Once you pass the kitchen line you have entered the volley zone. You can play the game with 2-4 pickleball players.

Pickleball Rules

To begin playing you will decide your teams and have each person move to a different corner of the court. The person in the right court will begin serving the ball cross court and the ball must travel past the non-volley zone line. The receiver must let the ball bounce once before returning the serve. Then the server or partner must allow the ball to bounce once more before returning. Now players may begin volleying and moving into the kitchen for play.

Pickleball Scoring

Pickleball scoring can be a little confusing at first. The server always says the score in this order: their teams score, their opponents score, the number server they are (either 1 or 2). When you win while serving, you receive a point. If you lose a point while serving, the serve moves to your partner. No one scores a point. If they win while serving, your team receives a point. If they lose the serve rotates to the other team and again no one receives a point.

You can only receive a point while serving. Whoever servers first in a team is server 1 and whoever serves second is server 2. For example, if you are the 2nd server and you have 3 points and your opponents have 4 points, your score would be said aloud, 3-4-2. First team to reach 11 points (win by 2) wins the game. Each match is best two out of three games.

Learning From Your Mistakes

Playing pickleball is so fun and should not be taken too seriously. Especially if you are just learning, you will most certainly make mistakes. The rules can be a bit confusing and are different from tennis, badminton and ping-pong rules. Give yourself a break, and take advantage of the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. As a beginner player, you will be able to get a feel for hitting the ball and begin to learn pickleball skills to improve your level of play.

As you get more comfortable hitting the ball, you may begin to try different pickleball strategies like dink shots. A dink shot is when you hit the ball into the Non-Volley Zone (also known as the kitchen) on your opponents side of the court. Dinks are shots that are low to the ground and difficult to volley. This can keep your opponent from volleying a difficult shot back at you and gives you a moment to recover.

Just as you get in a ready position during a tennis match, the same can be done in Pickleball. You will want to make sure your feet are hips width distance apart and your knees are bent. This will allow you to move quickly from side to side and front to back. You will also want to keep your paddle in front of you with a relaxed yet confident grip.

As with all sports, a great pickleball tip is to stay focused! Be ready and do your best and you will have a blast.

Wearing Comfortable Clothes and Shoes

Like any sport, you will want to be comfortable and ready to move for pickleball. It is important to wear clothes that will allow that movement and not get in the way. Be sure to wear proper tennis shoes or sneakers to play. This will allow you to move easily around the court without slipping or tripping. You will want clothing that is stretchy, but not too flowy, as you won’t want it to get in the way of your movement. Wearing sport shorts, athletic leggings, tennis skirts or dresses and tanks and t-shirts are all great options. Don’t forget to wear sunglasses or a hat to give your eyes some coverage from the sun. It can be hard to see the ball and serve without eye protection. Check out this post on tennis gear for more clothing recommendations.

Stretching Before Playing

Pickleball requires a lot of quick movements forward, backward, side to side and twisting in all sorts of directions. You may lunge for the ball, taking quick steps and reaching up, down, forward or back. All of these movements require your body to be limber and flexible. Stretching before playing is a great way to prevent any injuries and help prepare your body for those movements. Try stretching your calves, thighs, shoulders, arms, neck and twisting your body from side to side.

Investing in Quality Equipment

As you begin to play pickleball more, you may decide you want to invest in some nicer equipment. Experienced players may have a preference for certain pickleball paddles and balls. When buying a pickleball paddle you will want to consider the weight, grip and shape. Everyone has a different preference. Some paddles may work better for some versus others. Paddles range in price from around $40 to $150 so you can choose one that suites your needs and budget. Check out some options below.

Have you played pickleball before? Let us know and share any of your tips for newbies in the comments!

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  1. Victoria Richards wrote:

    I’ve been playing pickle ball for about a year regularly and I’m typically the youngest person at 51. I’m constantly getting my butt kicked by 70+ year olds and I used to be a tennis player! I play in a community of about 300 players spread over a bunch of different courts and these are some of the fittest people over 60 that I’ve ever met in my life! I can’t say enough good things about it! The problem is, it’s become so popular that there’s always wait time for courts. It’s probably the most fun sport I have ever played and I highly recommend it for everyone. Hopefully towns build more courts to keep up with the demand. It’s great for everybody, but especially seniors, keeps them fit, sharp and involved in the community.

    6.6.23 | Reply
    • Sandy33 wrote:

      Here are some casual tips to up your pickleball game:

      Nail the Basics: Start by getting the hang of the basic moves like serving, dinking, volleying, and smashing. Get your grip right, find a comfy ready position, and practice those shots until they’re second nature.

      Fancy Footwork: Don’t be a slowpoke! Work on your footwork to move around the court like a pro. Stay balanced, be quick on your feet, and get in position to smash that ball. And don’t forget to predict your opponent’s moves for some tactical advantage.

      Control the Tempo: Shake things up by varying the speed, angle, and placement of your shots. Mix it up with some soft dinks and hard drives to keep your opponents guessing and on their toes.

      Team Up: If you’re playing doubles, talk to your partner! Communication is key. Coordinate your moves, call out shots, and work out a strategy to dominate the court. Teamwork makes the dream work!

      Dink It Like a Boss: Master the art of the dink—a delicate, short shot that hugs the net. It’s all about finesse and precision. Practice those soft touches to put the ball exactly where you want it and make your opponents sweat.

      Keep an Eye on the Enemy: Watch your opponent’s every move. Look for weak spots and patterns you can exploit. The better you can anticipate their shots, the quicker you can react and gain the upper hand. More tips here: bulking.store/

      6.28.23 | Reply
  2. Thanks for your tips!

    6.8.23 | Reply
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