Beginner pickleball: What skills do you need to get started?

What basic skills do you need to get started as a beginner in pickleball?

Jaclyn Brandt



February 26, 2024

What basic skills do you need to get started as a beginner in pickleball?



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Pickleball has become such a popular sport because it’s one of the only sports that non-athletes can pick up and excel at in a short amount of time. But what basic skills do you need to get started as a beginner in pickleball?

Basic physical skills

Pickleball is for people of all ages and abilities. When you get out on the pickleball court, you will find there are people between ages 2 to 100 and people with varying levels of physical fitness or even physical limitations.

Pickleball brings people together because people of all kinds are able to get out on the court, and in many cases, it actually helps improve physical fitness and other aches and pains of brand-new pickleball players.

If you feel pickleball may not be for you because you are too young or too old, disabled, overweight, underweight, not physically fit enough, too physically fit, or anything else, you should get out on the court because you will soon find that there is every type of person playing alongside you, and they will all welcome you.


The rules of pickleball are a little tricky to learn. Once you get out and play, it will all start to make sense. But you will need to make an effort to learn at least the basic rules.

If you plan to take a beginner pickleball course, then the rules will likely be explained to you when you are out there. If you decide just to show up to a pick-up session, the other players may not want to spend the entire time teaching you, so it’s worth it to spend time in advance to learn any pickleball rules you can.

Once you do your first few sessions, it will begin to make more sense. But spending time to learn everything you can about the rules of pickleball will make you an even better player and a good resource for other players.

Read our 7 basic rules of pickleball.

Gear & equipment

The list of pickleball gear you will need to get started playing is very short. You may need to purchase a paddle, but in the very beginning, you will not need any special clothing or shoes. In comparison with other sports, there is not much you will need to purchase before playing your first pickleball game.

Once you start to play more and improve, you will want to look into pickleball-specific gear, including shoes, clothing, and accessories.

Motivation to get out there and play

More than skill or talent, the #1 thing you will need to get started in pickleball is your motivation. Showing up to your league or pick-up games regularly will help you embrace your local pickleball community (and vice versa), and find the passion for the sport that so many others have found.

You may also want to start watching videos, learning more rules, and joining online communities of other pickleball players — but there is no replacement for playing the game.

Basic pickleball skills you will need to get started

Unlike a lot of other sports, there is not much you will need to get started. Signing up for lessons or games will help you find your local pickleball community. They can guide you through the rest of what you need to know to move from a beginner pickleball player to whatever level player you aspire to be.