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How to play pickleball

how to play pickleball

TL;DR: Learn how to play pickleball with this comprehensive guide for beginners. It goes over everything you need to know, like what equipment you need, how the court is set up, the basic rules, shot techniques, strategies, and ways to get better. Get ready to join the fun and start playing pickleball today!


Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world! Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran, there are tonnes of tips and strategies to help you make the most out of your pickleball experience.

From learning the fundamentals to mastering advanced techniques, this guide will help you become a pickleball master. We’ll talk about proper form and techniques for each shot, strategies for both singles and doubles play, how to get better at pickleball, plus plenty of tips on how to stay safe while playing.

If you’re ready to up your game and become a pickleball champion, then let’s begin! With these simple yet effective strategies and techniques in mind, you can hone your skills as a player and become an even bigger success on the court!

Understanding the Basics of Pickleball

Discover how to play pickleball with this comprehensive guide! Pickleball is a popular sport that is played on a hard court with a net and involves two or four players using paddles to rally a perforated plastic ball.

First introduced in 1965, pickleball has become one of the fastest-growing sports in America. It is particularly popular among older adults who want to enjoy the social aspect of team sports without the physically demanding aspects.

– Learn more on the origin story: History of Pickleball

This guide provides all the essential information on ‘how to play pickleball,’ including understanding the rules and scoring system, mastering techniques and strategies, and tips to help you become a pro. We also provide resources at the end of the guide for finding local play areas and joining competitive leagues. So, let’s start learning how to play pickleball!

Pickleball Equipment and Supplies

Hey there, no doubt you’re here to become a pickleball champion! Let’s start with the basics: what kind of equipment do you need to get started?

First off, you’ll need a proper pickleball paddle. Naming all the different models and brands is daunting, but understanding the key characteristics can help narrow down your choice: paddle size, shape, weight, and cost range. For example, mid-size paddles are usually the easiest for beginners to manoeuvre—and they usually come in at a palatable price point.

The same goes for pickleball balls. Choose from target-grade balls that are designed for slowing speeds or competition-grade balls for faster speeds. Keep in mind that heavier balls can make it easier to control your shots!

Finally, you’ll need a pickleball net—but if money is an issue right now, don’t stress as there are alternative solution like using beach towels to rope off areas instead.

For more information on recommended brands and materials to use check out our Resources page!

Pickleball Court and Layout

Great! Now that you know the basics of pickleball and the right equipment, you’re ready to get started. But first, let’s review the court layout.

Standard Pickleball Court Dimensions

The standard pickleball court measures 20 feet wide by 44 feet long, with a non-volley line on both sides that is 7 feet from the net. The other two boundaries are the kitchen line (7 feet from the net on either side) and the baseline (44 feet from the net) on each side. This gives you a total area of 19,420 square feet.

Court Markings and Boundaries

The court should be marked with white lines that outline the boundaries – no matter what type of surface it’s built on. The only exception is when playing indoors; in this case, coloured tape or markers may be used instead. Additionally, a short service line should be painted between 6 to 7 feet from each side of the net for singles play and between 3 to 4 feet for doubles play. This will help you track your service throws more easily.

Court Setup

When setting up your court, it’s important to remember to include a place for storing balls and paddles as well as a table for scoring. That way you’ll always be prepared when it’s time to start playing! For added convenience (and protection in case of inclement weather) many players also opt for a roof or cover over their court setup—but this isn’t necessary unless you want extra coverage.

Basic Rules and Scoring

Are you ready to get a grip on the basics of playing pickleball? The object of the game is simple – have the most points when the game ends. But to score those points, there are a few key rules and regulations to be aware of.

Object of the Game

The goal is to score 11 points before your opponent. To serve, you must hit your serve into the opposite court, and when it falls within the lines on the other side, your opponents will hit it back. The ball is allowed only one bounce per side before being hit back over the net – this keeps things interesting as well as ensuring a good level of athletic ability is required!

Serving Rules

To earn a point, you must hit an accurate serve over the net and into your opponent’s court. Both singles players need to be served in rotation before they can gain points, while doubles players should alternate service between each player in their team.

Scoring Rules

If your opponent hits an incorrect or out-of-bounds shot, you will earn a point for every return after that shot would have been played. You must also keep track of how many times each team has served – and once one team has served 6 times, they switch sides and begin another round with 0-0 scores again.

Points System

Points are scored every time there’s an incorrect shot or when a fault is made by either player or team – this means that every return counts! So stay alert and make sure to stay on top of that scoreboard if you want to take home some serious points!

beginners guide on how to play pickleball

Pickleball Court and Layout

Ready to hit the court and play pickleball? Here’s what you need to know about the court dimensions, markings and setup!

Standard Pickleball Court Dimensions

Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court that measures 20 feet wide and 44 feet long. Along the two sides of the court stand two service courts, which are 7 feet long. The centre line divides the entire court into two equal halves— each side will be where your team will score their points.

Court Markings and Boundaries

The boundaries of a pickleball court are marked with lines that are 2 inches wide. The centre line is typically painted in contrasting colour or slightly thicker (4-5 inches) than the other lines, as it indicates where to serve from. On either side of this line you will find two service courts—one for each team’s respective serving order.

Court Setup

To ensure an even playing field, it’s important that the net is hung at 36 inches tall at its centre post. Additionally, there should be no posts within 4 feet from either side of the net posts. Finally, make sure to set up a boundary marker 4 feet from each side of the back boundary line as well as 4 feet away from each baseline (doubling back on both sides).

Now that you know all there is to know about setting up a proper pickleball court, it’s time to gear up and get out there!

Basic Shots For Beginners

If you’re just starting out in pickleball, it’s important to master some basic shots and techniques. If you can learn the forehand shot, backhand shot, volley shot, dink shot, and overhead smash, you’ll be off to a great start! Here’s how each of these can help you ace the game, and if you want to read more on these, check out our complete guide to pickleball shots.

Forehand Shot

The forehand shot is the most basic pickleball stroke. It’s best used for short passes and is mainly used on your non-dominant side. Make sure you move your feet when taking this stroke as it will help improve accuracy and power. To execute the forehand shot effectively, use a low-to-high motion and make sure you keep your arm straight while making contact with the ball.

Backhand Shot

The backhand shot is the second most common stroke in pickleball. It’s best used when returning shots to the opposing side of the court, while giving yourself time to recover back into position quickly. To perform a good backhand, stand side on relative to where you want to hit the ball using a low-to-high motion with your wrist. Remember to also keep your paddle below waist level when playing this stroke!

Volley Shot

The volley shot is usually used when returning shots from close proximity on your own side of

Techniques and Strategies for Playing Pickleball

You may think that when learning how to play pickleball, it’s all about hitting a ball back and forth. But the reality is much more complex! There are plenty of techniques and strategies that you will want to keep in mind when you hit the court for the first time.

Whether you are playing singles or doubles, communication and teamwork are integral to your pickleball play. It’s important to continuously talk to your partner in order to stay aware of the court situation and adapt your strategies accordingly so you can maximise your chances of winning.

But even if you’re playing alone, footwork and movement are key components for success on the court. You want to position yourself for each return so that you can get into a good position for the next shot. Once you have mastered this, you will find it easier to adjust shoulder turn as well as control both power and spin when returning serves.

When it comes to placing shots, it’s important to consider elements like spin, placement, angle and pace — they all come into play when serving or returning an opponent’s serve. Finally, take some time to practise return of serve strategies like lobs or drop shots but also watch and learn from other players if possible; practise makes perfect! So make sure that during your game you’re looking for different ways to use these tactics on the court and familiarise yourself with them over time.

Advanced Tactics for Experienced Players

If you’ve been playing pickleball for a while and are looking to take your game to the next level, here are four tips on how to play pickleball at a more advanced level. This is our quick list of high-level tactics that you can incorporate into your play:

1. Focus on the Third Shot

One of the most important aspects of pickleball is the third shot. If you can control the third shot, you will easily be able to gain an upper hand in any match. To master it, make sure you’re always mindful of where your opponent is standing and make sure that every third shot is placed in a spot that will put them in a defensive position.

2. Utilise The Lob

The lob is one of the most effective shots in pickleball as it requires your opponent to move from one side of the court to another. Use this to your advantage, and aim for spots on the court where they have difficulty reaching, such as close to the net or far away from them.

3. Master Your Serve

Your serve is key if you want to gain an advantage against your opponents and win more games. Make sure you’re practising all different types of serves, like flat serves, short serves, kick serves, etc., so that you can keep switching it up during matches and surprise your opponents.

4. Learn How To Block

Blocking is a great way to counter your opponent’s powerful shots and take control of the rally again! It may take some time and practise but once you have mastered it, blocking will give you a major edge over other players who haven’t taken the time to learn this skill yet!

Tips For Improving Your Game

To get a competitive edge in pickleball, you’ll need to practise, practise, practise! It’s the best way to become a pro. Here are some tips to help you get better:

A. Practise, practise, practise

Find a court at your local place of recreation or join a club and start playing as often as you can. With enough reps and steady play, you’ll acquire the muscle memory needed to hone your skills and become the player you want to be.

B. Focus on proper technique

There is an art and science behind pickleball that requires understanding of proper technique for the best performance. Practising with the right form will ensure precision and accuracy with each game.

C. Improve your footwork

Footwork is essential for success in any sport, including pickleball! Think about drills like plyometric exercises that are designed to build speed and agility on the court by improving movement patterns for quick reactions.

D. Work on your mental game

Pickleball isn’t just about physical strength, and when beginner players think about learning how to play pickleball, what they often overlook, is the value of the mental game. Mental strength is important if you want to come up with strategies that will help you win each match and give you more confidence when playing against people who are better than you.

E. Find a partner or join a group

Look into finding an experienced player who can mentor you or joining a group online—there are lots of ways to connect with people so that you can learn from each other while having fun at the same time! After all, they once, like you, were googling how to play pickleball, hopefully they can speed up your learning journey.

Resources and References for Improving Your Game

We finish up this guide on how to play pickleball with some ideas for further resources to improve your game or just learn more in general about it. So here are some ideas for resources and references on how to improve your paddle skills.

Pickleball Organisations and Resources

The USAPA (USA Pickleball Association) is a great resource for those who want to learn more about the sport, or just to find pickleball courts, tournaments, and leagues where they can play. They also maintain a list of certified instructors, who can help you learn the basics and even take your game to the next level!

Books and Online Articles

If you’re looking for in-depth knowledge on all things pickleball, there are several books available, such as “Pickleball Mastery: The Ultimate Guide on How to Play Pickleball” by Woody Brisbin. There are also online articles on strategies and techniques that you can use to become a better player.

Videos and Tutorials

Finally, there is no shortage of videos online covering techniques and strategies for learning how to play pickleball. Whether it’s easy-to-follow tutorials or advanced training sessions, there’s something here for everyone, so don’t forget to check them out!


So, hopefully, you’re now a little closer to learning how to play pickleball, and if you’re looking for an exciting and rewarding sport, then this is the way to go! Now that you have the Champion’s Guide to Playing Pickleball in your toolbox, you have all the resources you need to become a skilled pickleball player. Whether it’s mastering the basics, learning the right strategies, or developing the right mindset, you can be sure to find something to help you every step of the way. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start playing pickleball!

David Mason
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