Pickleball for beginners: Getting started

If you are a beginner pickleball player, here are some tips on the best ways to get started.


pickleball for beginners


February 14, 2024



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The USA Pickleball Association is the governing body that determines rule changes, enforces equipment regulations, and sanctions tournaments. It is their mission to help grow the wonderful sport of pickleball. You can find places to play pickleball by going to their Places 2 Play page. However, you can set up your court pretty much anywhere as described below.

Court Setup

As long as you have a hard surface, you can play pickleball anywhere. It has been played on gym floors, concrete, asphalt, tennis courts, and carpet. Some people even set up courts in their neighborhood streets!

Pickleball courts are often placed over existing tennis courts by simply painting lines or adding temporary painter’s tape. A tennis court net is slightly higher than a pickleball net. To shorten the net, many players wrap bungee cords around the net posts and connect them to the net. This lowers the net to the appropriate height of 34″ in the middle and 36″ on the side.

However, if you are going to be playing indoors, on a parking lot, or elsewhere, there are portable nets for sale through various retailers. You would then need to set up your court lines. There are a plethora of ways to create removable lines. Some more common methods include chalk, chalk paint pens, or tape. As a note to the wise, set up your court in a north/south direction so that neither team needs to face the sun head-on.

Courts are 44 feet by 20 feet. The length of the court is divided into four sections. The centerline of the court where the net is placed is located 22 feet from either baseline. Seven feet away on either side of the net are two more lines called the non-volley lines. The remaining 15 feet of court remaining on both sides are the service courts. There is a centerline lengthwise down the court, ten feet from either side.

Pickleball equipment

One of the best things about pickleball is it can be played anywhere there is a hard surface — on asphalt, concrete, tennis courts, gym floors, and even some carpets. Many people set up courts in their neighborhood streets and you can do the same. The only equipment that is truly necessary to play pickleball is a paddle and a pickleball ball.

Pickleball paddles

Pickleball paddles were originally made of plywood, but heavy wooden paddles slowed down reaction time, so new paddles have since been created to honor the traditional style of wooden paddles, while improving game speed.

Pickleball balls

Pickleball balls look just like wiffle balls, but are slightly heavier. Traditionally, there were different Pickleball balls for indoor courts and outdoor courts, to accommodate for the wind factor often experienced when playing outdoors. Outdoor balls usually feature about 40 small holes and weigh a bit more than indoor balls, which usually have about 26 larger holes.

Learn more about the pickleball gear you need to get started.

Local pickleball clubs

One of the best ways to join the pickleball craze is to check out your local pickleball club. Many clubs post places and times to play on their website, as well as people to contact who would love to help you get started. Many local clubs have free demo paddles for beginners to play with.

If you do not want to play in a large tournament, don't worry! Clubs will often have small tournaments or round-robin events that you can join. These are great ways to meet more players in your skill level. And you may even find the one…your perfect pickleball doubles partner that is.

If you want to hone your skills for perfect ball placement, clubs will also put on clinics or bring in professional players or coaches to run them. They have beginner as well as intermediate-level sessions.