Pickleball 101: What You Need to Know

Pickleball 101: What You Need to Know

Pickleball is a fun and fast-paced sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It's easy to learn, making it perfect for beginners of all ages. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to understand and play pickleball like a pro.

1. What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a racket sport played on a court with a net, similar to tennis. Players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated plastic ball over the net. The game can be played indoors or outdoors on a court that's about one-third the size of a tennis court.

2. Equipment Needed

Paddle: Choose a pickleball paddle that feels comfortable and suits your playing style. Paddles come in various materials and weights, so try a few to find the one that works best for you.

Ball: Pickleballs are lightweight and have small holes. This allows for slower flight and better control. Opt for balls specifically designed for pickleball.

Court: A pickleball court is 20 feet wide and 44 feet long for doubles play, with a net set at 36 inches in the middle. The court is divided into specific areas, including the kitchen (non-volley zone) near the net.

Attire: Wear comfortable athletic clothing and supportive shoes with good traction. Pickleball involves a lot of quick movements.

3. Basic Rules

Serve: Start the game by serving diagonally to the opponent's service court. The serve must be underhand and made with the paddle below the waist.

Volley: Players can volley the ball (hit it in the air without letting it bounce) as long as they're not in the kitchen (non-volley zone).

Scoring: Points are scored only by the serving team. Games are typically played to 11 points, and the winning team must win by at least two points.

Faults: Common faults include hitting the ball out of bounds, stepping into the kitchen while volleying, or committing double hits.

4. Basic Techniques

Grip: Hold the paddle with a firm but relaxed grip. The most common grip is the continental grip, similar to holding a hammer.

Serve: Practice different types of serves, such as the underhand serve, topspin serve, or slice serve, to keep your opponent guessing.

Dink: Master the dink shot, a soft and controlled shot that barely clears the net. Dinks are effective for placing the ball precisely and setting up your next shot.

Lob: Use the lob shot to hit the ball high and deep into your opponent's court. This forces them to move back and potentially set up an offensive opportunity.

5. Practice Tips

Drills: Practice basic skills such as serving, dunking, and volleying through drills designed to improve your technique and consistency.

Play Matches: Play regularly against opponents of varying skill levels to gain experience and confidence on the court.

Watch and Learn: Watch instructional videos or attend clinics led by experienced players to pick up tips and strategies from the pros.

Have Fun: Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the game! Pickleball is a social sport that's meant to be enjoyed with friends and family.


Pickleball is an exciting and accessible sport that offers fun and fitness for players of all ages and skill levels. By understanding the basic rules, techniques, and strategies outlined in this guide, you'll be well-equipped to start playing pickleball and having a blast on the court. So grab your paddle, find a court, and get ready to pickle!
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