Sometimes the most difficult part of starting something new is finding the right community. As a beginner pickleball player, it may seem like everyone around you is already a 3.5 player or above. So how do you get started when there are no beginner pickleball leagues around you?
If you have not had any luck finding a beginner pickleball league in your area, you should also be searching for beginner pickleball classes near you. Some facilities will host beginner pickleball training, even if they do not set aside time for an actual beginner league.
In a beginner pickleball class, they will teach you the rules, including court positioning, scoring, and the rules of pickleball. They should then give you time to play and learn those rules by practicing.
No matter how much you read or watch about the rules of pickleball, there is no replacement for getting out and playing. And it will be even better for you if there is an instructor out there to answer questions as you get familiar with the game.
As you begin playing pickleball, you will start to meet a lot of new people in the local pickleball community. Pickleball can create a very tight-knit community and you will be a part of it as soon as you show up to your first game.
There are a lot of ways to involve yourself in this community, which will in turn give you more chances to play, which will then give you more chances to improve your level of play. You can also meet any other beginners, and show them that there are a lot of you out there. It’s scary to start something new — but less scary if you think there are a lot of people in the same position as you.
Local pickleball facility games, leagues, and open play
People you already know from other pickleball classes or open play you have attended
Pickleball tournaments: You don’t have to play but attending tournaments can help you meet new people
If you are looking to learn pickleball for the very first time, you may have found how frustrating it can be to find a beginner league. Depending on your area, many facilities focus on 3.0+ rated players.
Although it’s not clear why more facilities don’t offer beginner leagues, you should focus on getting better. If you work hard and play consistently, you can potentially become a 3.0 within a few months of learning the game.
Another reason facilities may not focus on beginner leagues is that a lot of pickleball is based on open play, where one person signs up for court time. That person can then either invite their friends, or anyone else can sign up during that time slot. This takes the responsibility off of the facility and onto one person who is signing up.
Because so many facilities offer open play pickleball, it is your chance to create your own beginner pickleball league. This does not necessarily have to be an actual “league,” but can instead be open play.
You can work with the pickleball facility to sign up for time and invite other beginners to play along with you. You can ask the facility to send out information on your court time to any beginners in their database, or you can invite anyone you have met in your pickleball journey.
If you do find a place that offers beginner classes, that will be a great way to meet people and invite them to sign up for your league or open play.
If you do not want to be responsible for scheduling beginner pickleball play, another tip is to get to know the employees of your local pickleball clubs and facilities. Let them know about the lack of beginner leagues in your area and ask if they would consider creating one.
Recreational pickleball leagues are usually based on ratings, which means many facilities forget to add beginner leagues to their schedules (and how are you supposed to get better if you don’t first start as a beginner?).
With more facilities popping up all over the country, and the world, do your research on joining local communities, check local schedules, and if all else fails, book your own beginner court time.
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