How to get started playing Pickleball
If you’re looking to start playing pickleball or just want to find out more information about this rapidly growing sport – here’s a handy guide with everything you need to know.
What is pickleball?
Fast becoming one of the most popular racket sports in the world, pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. Players can play as both singles and doubles, using paddles to hit a plastic ball between them.
Who can play pickleball?
Pickleball is a sport for all ages, backgrounds and abilities. It’s easy to pick up for beginners and is a great way to exercise, keep active with friends and meet new people.
Best of all, it’s a low-impact sport, that’s easy on the joints and it can help you build your fitness while playing a fun and challenging game.
Where can I play pickleball?
There are more than 270 pickleball venues in the UK, with venues spread all across the country. Get in touch with your local club or venue to see if they already offer pickleball.
Did you know you can also turn your tennis courts into temporary pickleball courts? Read our guide to setting up a pickleball court.
What are the rules of Pickleball?
The pickleball rules are easy to grasp and the scoring system is simple. There are many similarities with tennis and some key differences. For example, the ball has to bounce once on each side before you can volley, and you can’t play volleys from inside the kitchen (a marked out area close to the net).
Read our full guide on the rules of pickleball.
Pickleball shots are very similar to tennis or padel – you have the volley (shots without bouncing), drop shots (light shots falling just on your opponent’s side of the net) and smashes (an overhead volley).
In pickleball you also have a shot called a ‘dink’, which can only be used near the net, or in the kitchen area of the court. A dink is a very soft shot that just about reaches over the net, making difficult to return – much like a drop shot in tennis.
The ‘third shot drop’ are effective because a lot of rallies are often lost on the third point of a rally. A third shot drop is a soft, arcing shot that drops into the kitchen – often forcing your opponent to hit a dink return.
What should I wear to play pickleball?
You can wear anything to play pickleball. We’d recommend any type of sportswear and some comfy trainers – but if you’re looking to play more regularly, you can get specialist pickleball trainers that offer a bit more stability and will help your movement.
What equipment do I need to play pickleball?
The main two bits of equipment you need to play pickleball are a paddle and a ball.
The pickleball paddle – like a tennis racket – has a handle and a large flat surface area that is used to hit the ball. Paddles can be made from different core materials, have different thicknesses and different grip sizes to suit every player’s wants and needs.
The ball is plastic and hollow, with holes all across its surface. A pickleball is slightly larger than a tennis ball and are slightly different weights depending on whether you’re playing indoors or outdoors. Heavier balls are used outdoors so they aren’t as affected by the wind.