What Do I Need To Start Playing Pickleball?

What Do I Need to Start Playing Pickleball?

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Are you interested in playing pickleball but don’t know where to start? Pickleball is a fun, low-impact sport that is perfect for players of all ages and skill levels. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know to start playing pickleball, including the rules, equipment, and etiquette.

Rules of Pickleball

Before you start playing pickleball, it is important to familiarize yourself with the rules. Here are some of the most important rules to keep in mind:

  • Pickleball can be played with two or four players.
  • The serve must be hit with an underhand stroke with contact below the waist [Pickleheads].
  • The ball must be served diagonally across the court and land in the opposite service court.
  • The player(s) on the receiving end of the serve must let the ball bounce before returning it.
  • The ball can only be volleyed (hit out of the air) if both feet are behind the non-volley zone line (also known as the kitchen).
  • Points can only be scored by the serving team.
  • Games are typically played to 11 points, and the team that wins by two points wins the game.

Equipment Needed to Play Pickleball

To start playing pickleball, you will need a few pieces of basic equipment. Here is what you need:


The pickleball paddle is the most important piece of equipment you will need to play the game. Pickleball paddles are smaller than a tennis racquet but larger than a table-tennis paddle. Today’s paddles are made from several materials including wood, graphite, and aluminum [Dick’s Sporting Goods].


As mentioned above, there is no one standard pickleball ball. In fact, there have been 33 pickleball brands that have been approved by the USAPA [Pickleball Hut]. When you are just starting to play, you may want to start with a few less expensive options. It won’t take long for you to find out which kind you prefer.


When it comes to shoes, you want to avoid using running shoes as they can cause injuries. Instead, opt for shoes that have a non-marking sole and provide good support and stability. Court shoes or cross-trainers are great options for pickleball players [Pickleball Kitchen].

Finding a Place to Play Pickleball

Now that you have the equipment needed to play pickleball, you will need to find a place to play. Here are some ways to find local pickleball play locations:

  • Check with your local community center or parks and recreation department.
  • Search online for local pickleball groups or clubs.
  • Ask around at local gyms or sports centers.

Pickleball Etiquette

In addition to the rules of the game, there are some important etiquette guidelines to follow when playing pickleball. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Congratulate your partner and your opponents on a game well played, regardless of the final score. In pickleball, it is customary to tap paddle handles as a “high five” of sorts. But many players lightly tap paddles [Pickleball Rookie].
  • Be respectful of other players and their equipment. Do not walk across someone else’s court, and avoid hitting your paddle against the net or any other equipment.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Always keep an eye on the ball and the other players on the court to avoid collisions or injuries.
  • Wait your turn. If someone else is playing on a court, wait until they are finished before starting your own game.

Tips for Beginner Pickleball Players

If you are just starting to play pickleball, here are some tips to help you improve your game:

  • Start with the basics. Focus on getting your serves and returns consistent before trying more advanced shots.
  • Practice your footwork. Good footwork is essential in pickleball, so make sure you are moving around the court efficiently.
  • Learn to play on the net. The non-volley zone, or the kitchen, is where many points are won or lost, so practice your net game.
  • Play with players of different skill levels. Playing with players of different skill levels can help you improve your own game and learn new strategies.
  • Have fun! Remember, pickleball is a game, and the most important thing is to have fun while playing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a tennis ball and a pickleball?

Pickleballs are smaller, lighter, and have less bounce than tennis balls. They are also made of a harder plastic material that makes them easier to control during play.

How long does a pickleball game usually last?

A pickleball game usually lasts between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on the skill level of the players.

Can you play pickleball indoors?

Yes, pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors, depending on the availability of courts and the preferences of the players.

Is pickleball a good exercise?

Yes, pickleball is a great form of exercise. It is a low-impact sport that can improve cardiovascular health, hand-eye coordination, and overall fitness.

Can pickleball be played by seniors?

Yes, pickleball is a great sport for seniors because it is low-impact and can be played at a variety of skill levels.


Pickleball is a fun, exciting sport that is easy to learn and play. By following the rules, having the right equipment, and practicing good etiquette, you can enjoy pickleball with friends and family for years to come. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun while playing, so don’t be afraid to try new shots and strategies as you improve your game.


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