How Do You Play Pickleball: A Friendly Beginner’s Guide 2023

Welcome to the world of pickleball, a fun and social sport that’s taking the world by storm! If you’re new to the game and wondering how to get started, this beginner’s guide is for you.

Pickleball is a racket sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. It’s played on a smaller court with a lower net and a plastic ball with holes. The game is easy to learn, making it a popular choice for players of all ages and skill levels.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started with pickleball, from the rules and equipment to basic techniques and advanced strategies. Whether you’re playing for fun or looking to compete, this guide will help you become a confident and skilled pickleball player.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pickleball is a fun and social sport combining elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong.
  • It’s played on a smaller court with a lower net and a plastic ball with holes.
  • Beginners can quickly learn the game and develop their skills with the help of this guide.

Pickleball Rules and Regulations

Pickleball is played on a court similar to a badminton court, with a net in the middle. The court is smaller than a tennis court, measuring 20 feet wide and 44 feet long. It is divided into two service areas and a no-volley zone, also known as the kitchen, at the net.

The game is played with a specific type of paddle and a perforated plastic ball. The serve is underhand and must be made diagonally, while the receiving team must let the ball bounce before returning it. Only the serving team can score points, and the game is typically played to 11 or 15 points, with a 2-point lead required to win.

Pickleball Serving Rules

The server must keep both feet behind the back line and make contact with the ball below their waist. The serve must be made diagonally, landing in the opposite service court, and must clear the net. If the ball hits the net but lands in the proper service court, it is considered a let and the serve is replayed.

ServeServer 1Server 2
1Right service courtLeft service court
2Left service courtRight service court
3Either service courtEither service court

The serving team continues to serve until they commit a fault, such as serving out of bounds or into the net, or until the receiving team wins the point. The serve then switches to the other team, and the players take turns serving until the end of the game.

Other important rules include not entering the no-volley zone unless the ball has bounced or the opponent has hit the ball, and not hitting the ball out of the air while inside the no-volley zone. If a player violates these rules, it is considered a fault and the opponent is awarded the point.

Pickleball Equipment

How Do You Play Pickleball: A Friendly Beginner's Guide 2023

To play pickleball, you need a few basic pieces of equipment. While you can play the game with just a paddle and a ball, having the proper attire and accessories can enhance your performance and enjoyment of the game.


Paddles are the most essential piece of equipment for pickleball. They are similar in shape to a tennis racket but smaller and lighter. Paddles can be made of wood, composite materials, or graphite, with each material offering different levels of control, power, and maneuverability. For beginners, it is recommended to start with a middle-range paddle and upgrade when needed.


Pickleball uses a plastic ball with small holes in it to reduce wind resistance. These balls are available in different colors, with the most commonly used colors being yellow and green. It is recommended to use outdoor balls for playing on hard surfaces and indoor balls for playing on softer surfaces.

Clothing and Shoes

Wearing comfortable and breathable clothing is important for playing pickleball. Avoid wearing baggy clothing that may hinder movement, and opt for clothing made of moisture-wicking fabric to keep you cool and dry. As for shoes, it is recommended to wear court shoes with non-marking soles to avoid damaging the court surface.

Other Accessories

While not essential, other accessories such as pickleball gloves, hats, and sunglasses can improve your comfort and performance on the court. Gloves can provide extra grip and reduce hand fatigue, hats can protect you from the sun’s glare, and sunglasses can improve your visibility and protect your eyes.

Pickleball Basics

If you’re new to pickleball, it’s important to understand the basic techniques and strategies involved in the game. Here are some key concepts to keep in mind:


The serve is the first shot in pickleball and can determine the pace of the entire game. To serve, stand behind the baseline and hit the ball underhand, ensuring that it bounces inside the opponent’s service court diagonally across the net. A successful serve must clear the non-volley zone and land within the boundaries of the service court.

Returning Shots

After the serve, the ball must be returned by the opposing team. It’s important to hit the ball before it bounces twice and aim for a placement that makes it difficult for the opposing team to return. The return shot should also avoid hitting the ball into the non-volley zone.

Positioning on the Court

Players should move as a team to cover the court effectively. This involves anticipating the opposing team’s position and hitting shots in a way that forces them to move and potentially make mistakes. Players should stay out of the non-volley zone unless they are hitting a ball that has bounced or been hit by the opposing team.

By mastering these fundamental techniques and strategies, beginners can quickly improve their pickleball skills and increase their enjoyment of the game.

Pickleball Tips for Beginners

How Do You Play Pickleball: A Friendly Beginner's Guide 2023

While it may seem daunting at first, pickleball is a surprisingly easy game to pick up. However, mastering the game requires practice, patience, and a willingness to learn from your mistakes. Here are some tips to help beginner players improve their game:

  1. Master the dink shot:The dink shot is a low, soft shot that is usually played from the kitchen line. Practicing this shot will help you win points by keeping the ball low and forcing your opponent to hit up, giving you an opportunity to hit a winning shot.
  2. Communication is key:Communication with your partner is crucial in pickleball. Make sure to call out the ball’s location, who is going to hit it, and where you are moving on the court. This will help avoid collisions and improve your teamwork.
  3. Stay in control:Stay in control of the game by maintaining your position on the court and not overreaching for shots. This will help you keep the ball in play and avoid making unforced errors.
  4. Practice, practice, practice:The more you practice, the better you will get. Set aside time to practice your positioning, footwork, and shot selection. Remember, practice makes perfect!
  5. Be patient:Don’t get discouraged if you lose a point or make a mistake. Stay focused and patient, and work to improve your game with each point. Learning from your mistakes is key to becoming a better player.

“Remember, the joy of pickleball is not only in winning but also in playing the game with others.”

With these tips in mind, you can improve your game and enjoy the fun and social aspects of pickleball. Don’t be afraid to seek out advice from experienced players and continue to learn and grow in your pickleball skills!

Pickleball Strategies

How Do You Play Pickleball: A Friendly Beginner's Guide 2023

While mastering basic techniques and footwork is crucial in pickleball, it’s also important to develop smart strategies to outmaneuver opponents and win points. Here are some key strategies to keep in mind:

1. Dinking

The dink shot is a soft, short shot that drops over the net and lands close to the opponent’s side. This shot is highly effective in forcing opponents to move forward and creates opportunities for winners. To dink effectively, keep your paddle low and take a short backswing, making contact with the ball at the highest point possible.

2. Lobbing

Lobbing is a shot where the ball is hit high in the air and lands deep in the opponent’s side of the court. This shot can be used to buy time or to hit over aggressive opponents. To lob effectively, make contact with the ball just below the center and hit it with an upward motion.

3. Teamwork

Effective communication and teamwork with your partner is crucial to succeed in doubles play. Work on establishing a rhythm and understanding with your partner when it comes to positioning on the court, calling shots, and covering each other’s weaknesses.

4. Anticipation

Anticipation is key in pickleball. Try to read your opponent’s shots and anticipate where the ball will go before it’s hit. This will give you an edge in getting into position to make an effective return.

5. Shot Selection

Knowing when to go for an aggressive shot versus playing it safe is a crucial decision in pickleball. Analyze the situation and take into account your opponent’s position and tendencies before deciding on a shot.

Remember, these strategies are just a few of the many ways to improve your pickleball gameplay. Experiment with different techniques and find what works best for you and your partner. With practice and dedication, you’ll be on your way to dominating the court!

Pickleball Techniques

While mastering the basic techniques of pickleball is crucial for beginners, advanced players will need to learn more intricate techniques to excel. The following are some of the techniques you may want to practice to elevate your game.


Volleys are shots that are hit in the air before they bounce on the ground. They are an essential technique for any pickleball player. The key to a successful volley is to keep your paddle high and steady, making contact with the ball at the peak of its trajectory. It’s important to position yourself well at the net to make executing volleys easier.


A smash is a forceful overhead shot that is used to hit the ball down into the opponent’s court. To execute a smash, begin with a high backswing, then bring the paddle down forcefully and make contact with the ball at the top of its bounce. Smashes are best used when the opponent hits a high ball that is easy to return.


Using spins can help you control the ball, making it difficult for opponents to return. There are two types of spins in pickleball: topspin and backspin. Topspin is used to make the ball drop quickly, while backspin is used to make the ball bounce higher. To create spin, adjust the angle of your paddle as you make contact with the ball.

Remember, mastering advanced techniques takes time and practice. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get them right away. Keep practicing and experimenting with different techniques to see what works best for you.

Tips for Serving in Pickleball

One of the most crucial elements of pickleball is serving. Not only does it start each point, but it can also provide a significant advantage if executed correctly. Here are some tips to improve your serving in pickleball:

  1. Master the basics:Before attempting any fancy serves, make sure you are comfortable with the fundamentals, such as the underhand serve. Practice your form consistently to establish a reliable and accurate serve.
  2. Use spin:Utilizing spin on your serve can make it more difficult for your opponent to return. Experiment with adding topspin or backspin to your serves to add variation and unpredictability.
  3. Target weak spots:Observe your opponent’s weaknesses and target those areas with your serve. For example, if your opponent struggles with backhand shots, serve to their backhand side to force errors.
  4. Vary your serves:Keep your opponent guessing by mixing up your serves. Incorporate different types of serves, such as high and low, short and deep, and fast and slow.
  5. Stay relaxed:Tension in your body can negatively impact your serve. Keep your body loose and relaxed to allow for a fluid, efficient serve.
  6. Practice, practice, practice:The more you practice your serves, the more effective they will become. Dedicate time to honing your serving skills and experimenting with new techniques.

Keep in mind that serving is just one aspect of playing pickleball. Don’t neglect other areas of your game, such as returning shots and positioning on the court. With practice and dedication, you’ll become a well-rounded pickleball player.

Pickleball: A Fun and Friendly Sport

Playing pickleball is a great way to stay active, socialize, and enjoy the outdoors. This beginner’s guide has covered the basic rules, equipment, techniques, and strategies used in the game of pickleball. As a beginner, remember to keep practicing and don’t be afraid to ask for tips and advice from more experienced players.

Whether you’re playing for fun or competing, pickleball is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. So grab your paddle, find some friends, and get out on the court!

Additional Resources and Further Learning

Congratulations on completing this beginner’s guide to playing pickleball! We hope you found the information helpful and informative. If you’re eager to dive deeper into the game, here are some additional resources and ways to continue learning:

Books on Pickleball

How Do You Play Pickleball: A Friendly Beginner's Guide 2023

There are many books available on the subject of pickleball, from instructional manuals to personal memoirs. Consider checking out titles such as “The Ultimate Pickleball Handbook” by Coach Mo, “Pickleball Fundamentals” by USAPA, or “Unstoppable Pickleball” by Tony Roig.

Pickleball Websites

The internet is full of useful resources for pickleball players of all skill levels. Check out websites such as the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), Pickleball Central, or Pickleball Kitchen for tips, tricks, equipment reviews, and more.

Join a Local Pickleball Club

One of the best ways to improve your skills and meet other pickleball enthusiasts is to join a local club. Look for clubs in your area at or Not only will you have the opportunity to play more often, but you’ll also be able to participate in tournaments and social events.

Remember, practicing regularly and staying committed to improving your skills will help you become a confident and skilled pickleball player. Best of luck on your pickleball journey!


Q: How do you play pickleball?

A: Pickleball is played on a small court with a net in the middle. Players use paddles to hit a plastic ball over the net, aiming to make it land in the opponent’s court without them being able to return it. The game is played in singles or doubles.

Q: What are the basic rules and regulations of pickleball?

A: The basic rules of pickleball include serving underhand, allowing one bounce on each side, and scoring points only when serving. The court dimensions are similar to a badminton court, and specific serving and scoring rules apply.

Q: What equipment do you need to play pickleball?

A: To play pickleball, you will need a paddle, a plastic ball, and comfortable attire. Paddles are usually made of lightweight materials like wood, composite, or graphite. Pickleball balls are unique and have small holes in them.

Q: What are some basic techniques and strategies in pickleball?

A: Basic techniques include serving, returning shots, and positioning on the court. Strategies involve watching the opponent’s movements and hitting shots strategically to gain an advantage.

Q: Do you have any tips for beginners to improve their pickleball skills?

A: Yes! Practice footwork, work on shot selection, communicate with your partner, and practice regularly to improve your skills in pickleball.

Q: Are there any advanced strategies in pickleball?

A: Yes, there are strategies like dinking, lobbing, and teamwork. These tactics can help you outwit opponents and gain a competitive edge.

Q: What are some advanced techniques in pickleball?

A: Advanced techniques include volleys, smashes, and spins. Mastering these techniques can take your gameplay to the next level.

Q: Can you provide any tips for serving in pickleball?

A: Certainly! Focus on your toss, aim for consistency, and try to vary your serves to keep your opponents off balance.

Q: Do you have any additional resources for further learning about pickleball?

A: Yes! There are books, websites, and local clubs where you can find more information and opportunities to enhance your pickleball knowledge and skills.

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