How to Start Playing Pickleball

If you’re curious about how to get started with pickleball, you’re not alone, with millions of people picking up a paddle for the first time. This guide will introduce you to the basics of pickleball, from understanding the game to mastering essential skills.

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How Do You Play Pickleball for Beginners?

At its core, pickleball is a paddle sport where players use solid paddles to hit a perforated ball over a net. The game can be played both indoors and outdoors and is typically played on a badminton-sized court.

Equipment: To start playing pickleball, you’ll need a pickleball paddle and a pickleball ball. If you need help deciding which paddle to choose, consider checking out these pickleball paddles for beginners for some guidance.

start playing pickleball

Setting Up: The court is divided into several zones, including service areas and a non-volley zone close to the net. Players serve diagonally, and points can only be scored by the serving team.

For those who prefer hands-on learning, you should take a pickleball lesson. It’s an excellent way to get a feel for the game under the guidance of an experienced player.

3 Essential Skills Needed to Play Pickleball

Serving: Serving initiates the game. The serve must be made underhand, and the ball must pass over the net without touching it and land in the diagonal service box.

Forehand and Backhand Strokes: Just like in tennis, mastering both forehand and backhand strokes is crucial. These strokes are used to rally the ball back and forth over the net.

Court Positioning and Movement: Understanding where to stand and how to move is key. This includes knowing when to approach the net and when to stay back and how to position oneself to cover the court effectively.

start playing pickleball

Basic Pickleball Rules to Start Playing Pickleball

  • Scoring System: Only the serving team can score. The game is played to 11 points, but a team must win by at least 2 points.
  • Serving Rules: Each player serves in turn. The serve must be underhand, and the paddle must contact the ball below the waist. The ball should land in the diagonal service box.
  • Faults and Violations: A fault can occur in various ways, such as hitting the ball out of bounds or failing to clear the net. After a fault, the serve passes to the opposing team.
  • Non-Volley Zone Rules: The non-volley zone is 7 feet from the net on both sides. Players cannot hit the ball in the air (volley it) while standing in this zone.

For a deeper dive into the nuances and to avoid pitfalls, it’s worth reading about common pickleball mistakes and how to steer clear of them.

start playing pickleball

Is Pickleball Hard to Learn and Play?

Compared to other racquet sports, many find pickleball relatively easy to pick up, especially for those with experience with tennis, badminton, or ping-pong. The rules are straightforward, and the game’s pace is adaptable, making it suitable for players of all ages and skill levels.

That said, like any sport, there’s a learning curve. Beginners might find challenges in mastering serves or positioning, but these become second nature with practice. The beauty of pickleball lies in its simplicity, combined with the depth of strategy that can be employed as players advance.

Pickleball is more than just a sport; it’s a community. As you dive into the world of pickleball, you’ll enjoy the thrill of the game and the camaraderie of fellow players. Whether you’re playing for fun, fitness, or competition, pickleball offers something for everyone. So grab a paddle, find a court, and start playing pickleball!

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