Pickleball for Beginners: How to Get Started

by Kristina Tamas on May 15, 2023

Welcome to the world of pickleball for beginners!

Pickleball is a fun and easy-to-learn sport that's growing in popularity, especially among seniors. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or a complete beginner, pickleball is a great way to stay active, improve your hand-eye coordination, and have fun with friends.

In this article, we'll guide you through everything you need to know about pickleball for beginners, including the basic rules, how to play, and some helpful tips to get you started.


Pickleball Paddles and Balls

Pickleball Basics for Beginners

Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It's played on a pickleball court that's about the same size as a badminton court, with a net that's similar to a tennis net. The game is played with a special ball and a pickleball paddle, which is similar to a ping-pong paddle but larger.

Before you play pickleball, you need to know the basic rules of the game. The game is played with two or four players. The object of the game is to score points by hitting the ball over the net and into the opponent's court without them being able to return it.


How to Play Pickleball

To start playing pickleball, you'll need a few pieces of equipment. You'll need a pickleball paddle, which is larger than a ping-pong paddle and has a paddle head that's usually made of wood or composite materials. You'll also need a pickleball, which is similar to a wiffle ball but slightly smaller.

The pickleball court is divided into two sides by the pickleball net. Each side is further divided into two areas: the non-volley zone and the backcourt. The non-volley zone is also known as the kitchen, and it's the area within 7 feet of the net. While playing pickleball, you can't hit the ball while you're standing in the non-volley zone unless the ball has bounced on your side of the pickleball court first.

The pickleball game starts with the serving team standing behind the baseline on their side of the court. The serving team must serve diagonally over the net and into the opponent's court. The ball must land within the opponent's court and not touch the net. If the ball touches the net and lands in the opponent's court, it's called a let serve, and the serve is replayed.

After the serve, the ball must be returned by the receiving team. The ball must bounce once on the receiving team's side of the court before it can be hit. The serving team must also let the ball bounce once on the serving team's side of the court before they can hit it. This is known as the two-bounce rule. Once the ball has bounced twice, either team can hit the ball in the air or let it bounce again.

The pickleball game continues with both teams hitting the ball back and forth until one team loses the point. The serving team will continue to serve until they lose a point. When the serving team loses a point, the other team will serve.

 Man Smiling on the Pickleball Court


Scoring and Other Pickleball Rules

The scoring system in pickleball is similar to other racquet sports. You can only score points when your team is serving. The first team to reach 11 points wins, but you must win by at least two points. If the score is tied at 10-10, the game continues until one team has a two-point lead.

There are other pickleball rules to keep in mind while playing, such as the double-bounce rule. The double bounce rule states that the ball must bounce once on each side of the court before it can be hit in the air. Another important rule is the drop serve. Drop serve is a serve that's hit with an underhand motion.


Pickleball Strategy

As you become more comfortable with the basic pickleball rules, you can start to develop a strategy. One important strategy is the third shot, which is a shot that's hit after the serve and return. The third shot is usually hit softly and is intended to get the serving team to the non-volley zone.

Another strategy is to use the non-volley zone to your advantage. Since you can't hit the ball while you're standing in the non-volley zone, your opponents will try to hit the ball there to force you to move back. If you can hit the ball to the corners of the pickleball court, you can force your opponents to move out of the non-volley zone and make it easier for you to score points.


Woman Hitting the Ball

Tournament Play

If you want to take your pickleball skills to the next level, you can play pickleball in a tournament. There are many pickleball tournaments held across the United States, and the sport is growing internationally as well. Tournament play follows all the basic rules of regular pickleball, but there are some additional rules and regulations to keep in mind.


Ultimate Rule for Playing Pickleball - Practice!

Pickleball is a fun and easy-to-learn sport that's perfect for pickleball beginners. By following the basic rules and practicing your skills, you can start playing pickleball and enjoying all the benefits it has to offer.

So grab a pickleball paddle and ball, find a court, go through this pickleball for beginners guide, and start playing pickleball today!