Beginner Pickleball: 6 Crucial Things To Get Started

Learning a new sport can be scary, especially if it’s one that’s rather obscure when compared to sports such as cricket and football. Luckily, you aren’t alone. Countless people have recently been getting into the sport that is pickleball, and we’ll go through a couple of tips that will help you do the same.

First, Find Someone You Know

If you’re able to find someone who already knows how to play pickleball, then learning the sport will be made ten times easier. Of course, it’ll be even better if that someone is a friend or at least an acquaintance of yours.

Finding a pickleball player is the hard part since you most likely won’t be having to work hard to persuade them. After all, because pickleball is still a rather unknown sport in most parts of the world, the people who do play it are always looking for new players to play with and against.

Having someone to teach you the ropes has many advantages, with the biggest one being that you’ll have someone to correct you. Don’t worry, as pickleball isn’t a hard-to-learn sport, but there’s still a difference between learning something alone and learning it with someone who already knows it.

Not only that, but the person will most likely know a couple of good places to play pickleball, which will ease the stress of having to find a suitable location from your shoulders.

Additionally, chances are you won’t have to go out and buy rackets instantly either. Instead, you can just borrow the ones the other person has. This will:

  1. Make it so if on the rare chance, you don’t like the sport, you will not have wasted money
  2. You’ll be able to see if the specific type of racket (or rackets) the other person has suits you, or if you should go for a different company.

If you can’t find someone who knows how to play pickleball, then don’t stress it as it isn’t that big of a deal. You will, however, have to work a little harder when it comes to where you play, and what equipment you use.

The Basics of What You’ll Need

If you aren’t able to find someone to show you the ropes, then worry not, as we’ll be going through everything you need in order to start your journey of beginner pickleball.

Pickleball ball

The first thing you’ll need is, of course, a pickleball ball (we will just call it a pickleball). There are 2 types: Indoor vs Outdoor pickleball. Luckily, this will be the easiest thing to check on your list. Although many people assume that Wiffle balls are the same as pickleball balls the holes on a pickleball are round and evenly spaced around the ball whereas the Wiffle ball has 8 oblong holes on one side of the ball.

Indoor Pickleballs

Additionally, a pickleball is, on average, around 18 ounces heavier than a Wiffle ball. However, Wiffle balls can still technically be used as a substitute.

The reason a pickleball is so different from, say, a tennis ball, is because they move through the air a lot cleaner than other types of balls due to them being much lighter and the holes creating less drag.

A Pickleball Paddle

Up next is the second most important thing you’ll need. If the Pickleball is the meat, then the paddle is the potatoes of your thanksgiving dinner. Although we’ll go more in detail in the next tip because of the difference in all the various types of paddles, you’ll find some basic information here as well.

Just like tennis rackets and cricket bats, different manufacturers make their pickleball paddles using different materials. While one manufacturer might use plastic cores for their paddles, another one might use an aluminum core for theirs.

The prices of pickleball paddles usually range from $20 to $150 in price, although some of the more high-end ones can even exceed this amount. Naturally, the higher the price, the more likely you are to find a paddle that is made of good quality (especially when it comes to polymer) that will last you a long time.


Okay, so we’ll try to not ruffle any professional pickleball players’ feathers with this one, but the type of shoes you wear is also very important. Of course, you can’t show up on the court wearing hiking boots or swim shoes, right?

Although wearing running shoes is generally accepted by most casual pickleball players because of them being the most common sports shoes, the thing with running shoes is that they’re generally made with the purpose of running in one direction.

Therefore, we recommend you wear tennis shoes when playing pickleball if you want to avoid any disastrous wear and tear of your shoes, as well as any potential injury that might be inflicted.

Some Places to Play

It’s a given that most sports can not be played without a suitable location first, and the same goes for pickleball. Although the easiest way to find a place to play is by asking someone who’s already a regular player if you don’t know anyone then don’t worry, as there are still many ways to find one.

What many people commonly do is just go to any tennis court to play and learn pickleball, as you can fit four standard pickleball courts on a tennis court. The best thing is that most of these places are also inexpensive.

General Knowledge of the Game and Rules

If you have every physical thing you need, the only thing left is general knowledge of how the game is played. If you’ve already played any racket-based game in the past such as tennis, table tennis/ping pong, or badminton, then you should already have a general idea of it.

If you don’t, then don’t worry. There are many video guides as well as written guides on how to play pickleball for beginners, and we’ll be going through two of the most important rules later on this same website.

Some key things that every pickleball player should know, however, are:

  • The ball must stay inbounds.
  • There must be one bounce per side.
  • You must serve at the baseline.
  • Serves cannot land in the no-volley zone.
  • The game ends at 11, 15, or 21 points.

What You Need to Know About Paddles

Just like we promised earlier, now it’s time to go a little more in-depth when it comes to paddles. Again, if you know someone who plays pickleball, then borrowing their paddle would help you out a lot, but even if you can’t here’s the basic information you need to know about all the different types of paddles as well as their pros and cons.

Wooden Paddles

Just like morts sports began with wooden instruments, pickleball is no different. Wooden paddles were used by players back in the 1960s when the sport itself was invented, and they continued to be the only available paddles up until the 1980s when composite paddles hit the markets.

Are Wooden Pickleball Paddles Good? [Things To Consider]

Now, while wooden paddles do technically get the job done, we strongly suggest you don’t use these, mostly because of how heavy and bulky they are. Most wooden paddles weigh up to 20 ounces, which is more than twice the weight of the average composite paddle.

This paddle does have one pro, however, and that’s the fact that it’s easily the cheapest one on this list. We’re talking dirt cheap. However, again, we don’t recommend it at all.

Composite Paddles

Now that we’ve talked about wooden paddles, let’s talk about the paddles that replaced them, composite paddles. As the more scientific readers out there will know, composite is when several elements or materials combine to form something.

pickleball paddle core

Now, a composite pickleball paddle is made up of four main components:

  • Handle
  • Core
  • Face
  • Edge Guard

The most important component is the core, as that’s what makes up the majority of the paddle’s body. Because of this, if a manufacturer wants to make some major change to their paddle with the purpose of setting it apart from the rest, they’ll most likely change what material the core is made of.

Don’t Know Which paddle to choose? Read this Comprehensive Guide: “How To Choose A Pickleball Paddle: A Paddle Guide”

Mind Your Feet!

Although we touched on this subject a little bit previously, it’s important that we go into detail when it comes to telling you what you should wear on your feet. After all, pickleball is a sport where you have to move around a lot, and sudden stops and direction changes are expected.

In other words, you can expect a lot of lateral movements (Moving side to side) when playing pickleball. While moving forward and backward is also a thing in this sport, it isn’t done nearly as much as moving side by side.

Because of this, running shoes are off the table, as they’re primarily used for sprinting or jogging in one direction, and lateral movement might, in fact, cause wear and tear. Instead, you need more sturdy and reliable shoes if you want to play pickleball properly, and we have two such types of shoes in mind already.

Court Shoes

Court shoes are those that athletes who play sports such as basketball, volleyball, and, of course, pickleball wear. They offer support on all sides, similar to tennis shoes, and have flat soles which lead to little to no treading.

Because of the support on all sides, court shoes are perfect for sports that have high lateral movement such as pickleball. One downside, however, is that they often weigh less than tennis shoes and, as such, aren’t as safe.

If you’re playing indoors in a gymnasium, however, then these are easily the perfect shoes to wear while playing or learning pickleball.

Tennis Shoes

Court shoes are well and good if you’re playing indoors, but most pickleball players prefer to play outdoors, usually on actual tennis courts. In times like these, what better type of shoes to wear than, well, tennis shoes?

Tennis shoes are very bulky on all sides, which makes them very good for constant lateral movement. Additionally, when compared to other shoes, they’re heavier in weight, which leads to them being more durable and tough, which is exactly what you need in a sport such as pickleball.

An actual tennis court is usually very rough textured, because of which court shoes and running shoes aren’t recommended at all, at least not if you want it to feel like you’re running barefoot on sandpaper. Therefore, the only realistic option is to wear tennis shoes.

Learning Pickleball

Of course, you can have the perfect shoes, the best paddle in the market, and the ideal location to play pickleball in, but the most important thing is to actually learn how to play pickleball.

We recommend not caring much about the rules at the start. Just toss the ball around with a friend or loved one, and enjoy it to your heart’s content. The first couple of days should just be for getting a feel of the paddle in your hands and seeing if you’re actually able to hit the ball properly or not.

Although pickleball is easier on the body than, say, actual tennis, that doesn’t mean you can’t get exhausted. Don’t be afraid to take constant rests, and stay as hydrated as you can.

Two Important Rules to Know

Of course, when playing against or with someone who already has experience with pickleball, it isn’t wrong to assume they’ll probably help you get a gist of the rules. However, it’s important that you remember two specific rules that we believe are the most important. Keep these in your mind, and we truly believe you’ll already have the right to call yourself a pickleball player.

The Kitchen Rule

The first rule we’ll be going through is the kitchen rule, and no we don’t mean the kitchen you’re thinking of. The kitchen in pickleball is a colloquial term for the non-volley zone. This is a section of the court that is 7 feet away from both sides of the net and extends to each sideline

As for what the kitchen rule is, well, You cannot be standing in, or otherwise make contact with the kitchen zone or kitchen line while volleying a ball.

Volley is just a fancy term for hitting the ball while it’s in midair before it hits the ground and bounces. So, in simpler terms, all you have to do is not hit the ball out of mid-air while your feet are in the kitchen or on the kitchen line. At least, that’s what it would have been if the ‘or otherwise’ hadn’t been included.

This means that even if you’re not in the kitchen but your paddle or hat falls off because of the momentum and land in the kitchen zone, then that’ll be a foul.

  • Read more:Pickleball Terms: Definitions To Get Familiar with Pickleball”

The Double Bounce Rule

The double bounce rule is pretty straightforward, but many players tend to forget about it, even if they’ve been playing pickleball for a while. What it means is that the ball has to bounce twice before any volley can begin. Once on each side.

So picture this. You and Mr.A are playing pickleball. You serve, and the ball bounces once on Mr.A’s side and then he returns. That’s one bounce. Just like that, the ball bounces once on your side, and then you hit it back. That’s two bounces.

Because the two bounces will have been done, now Mr.A will be free to hit the ball in mid-air without having to wait for it to bounce.

In Conclusion

So those were all the basic tips beginner pickleball players should know. Naturally, the only thing left to do now is to go out there and practice for yourself. After all, the most important part of learning to play pickleball is practicing it for yourself.

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