The Few Must-Dos for Beginning Picklers!

It’s true. There are only 5 pretty simple things you have to do to get started playing pickleball. Everything else?

Optional!

These five steps assume that your community does not simply offer pickleball lessons through their Parks and Recreation District or through some other entity. Contact them first. If you can get lessons, the lesson-givers usually provide equipment for first-time users, like paddles and balls, and have already secured a place to play. That will take care of most of the list right there!

However, if the above isn’t possible, do these things. We assume here you have a group of maybe four willing to participate, but two will do.

First, use this site. All content that we own is free to use for non-commercial purposes. Or if you want to involve yourself further, sign up for free newsletters and other cools stuff. No worries, we never give out our list, it only takes a few seconds, so let’s get step #1 done now, shall we?

Second, log in and spend a little time here familiarizing yourself with basic rules and with watching a video or two on the game. Go here to do that. It’s easy to get carried away and check out the top players and some excellent finals matches in the big tournaments, but for right now stay with the basics, OK? Although the basics could include watching Alan Christensen’s Beginner Strategy video….

Third, find a place to play. You can check out the USAPA’s places to play section to see if there’s a place to play in your community. If you cannot find a place to play, you can create one. Go here for the necessary info, including info on how to create a temporary court.

Fourth, get the equipment you need. The big-box sporting-goods stores nearby generally have beginner-ish pickleball stuff, but it wouldn’t hurt to call your local tennis shop and ask them – these days they often either have pickleball stuff themselves or know where you can get it. The equipment consists of the correct shoes (almost any running or court shoe will do), paddles and a few balls…three will suffice.

Fifth, get out there and hit a few balls. Start at the Non-Volley Zone doing what is called “dinking” to warm up and get a feel for the ball. Then move back and hit from about mid-court to each other. Then go to the baseline (the furthest point back) and hit longer shots to each other. Look into the “drills” sections for advice as to how to do these things. Then play a game. If there are only two of you, divide the court into halves and play diagonally to each other (not straight across). In this case all balls must stay in the diagonal box of your opponent when you hit and same for them. Don’t worry too much about how to score. or any rules except two. Serve underhand and read up on the “two-bounce” rule and follow those two. Otherwise just get a feel for it.

Sounds too easy? It is easy, and you can’t really make a mistake. It’s only pickelball, after all!

4 Comments

  • Craig Goetz
    October 28, 2019

    I am a pickleballer and have played for about a year at our city recreation center. We have about 20 to 25 regulars and our skills can be put into about four different levels. We play three hours in the AM on Mon, Wed & Fri as well as two hours on Wed evening. There are about 80 different people that we can contact that have joined us on occasion in the past. We have four courts and are trying to put people into skill ranges w/o hurting any feelings. We’ve tried just recently to have us individually rank ourselves but nobody puts themselves in the bottom level. We have a good proportion of them believe me. We thoroughly enjoy play with all the picklers but find that some of the less-skilled players find themselves overwhelmed by playing with our better players. The other side to that is that the better players don’t get a chance to play with other better players much. It can sometimes become tedious at best. We are looking to split the 3-hr time period into a beginning and “open” 1.5 hours where we do what we are doing now where the next three or four players “got next” game. The last 1.5 hours will be spent on Court 1=Advanced; Court 2=Intermediate; Court 3=Moderate and Court 4=Beginner or something similar. We pay $1 per three hour session which is a bargain and we do have a great group.

    Do you have any suggestions on how we can proceed to help keep our population of players and to help train those that have dabbled in pickleball or haven’t even seen a paddle?

    Thanks so much!
    Craig

    • Us
      October 29, 2019

      Hi, Craig. OMG! Your problem is one that we’ve run into SO many times and it’s never easy to solve. Each club or group eventually does solve it, or at least gets it to where it can be managed fairly well, but for the most part the issue of court utilization eventually needs to be “run” by a court utilization committee which then reports to your board (or club management). You don’t need that right now in our humble opinion, but it sounds like, to us, that you need to complete the following steps…thankfully you don’t have to do it all at once, and we’ll put the items in order of how we think they need to occur.

      Establish some interim rules. Sounds like you are doing that and the ones you intend sound pretty good to us. Keeping in mind that you’ll piss somebody off (excuse our French) – you always do. Knowing that, don’t worry about it.
      Establish a training program covering at least basic rules and how-to, etiquette, and ALSO running the folks through what do they do next…how do they use their courts?
      To that end it would be great to have RR’s (round robins) for your beginners across four courts once or twice a week. Six game round robins take two hours to complete. You could run a smaller one-say, four or perhaps five games and see if you can get ‘em done in 1 ½ hours. Or do the six games using 9-point or 7-point games. The template for how to run it is somewhere on this monster site, we think. (A quick look on the site showed we have everything from 8 people to 40+there and we think you’ll need to limit the RR to 18…16 playing and 2 bys. You only need a four court round robin and that’s a good thing or have to talk about how to monitor round robins, too, LOL!
      Right about now you will be thinking about a club rating system. BTW, do you have a club? If you don’t, start one. You’ll need to have one to control the level of whining that comes from a rating system implementation. Here’s a funny story…a friend of ours who is otherwise very bright got the not-bright idea to simply assign ratings for everybody in the club. A group of his peers and he got together and did this over the course of 5-6 hours (his club at the time was modest size but maybe 250-300 members +/-?) Would you like to guess what happened when they announced the ratings to everyone, with no advance warning? We wouldn’t recommend that approach, but rating people is a must. Of course if they have USAPA ratings, use those. Most people don’t, we don’t think.

      That should be more than enough to get you going. We would like to hear back from you from time to time. As always we will appreciate any other comments from our other readers. Thanks for bringing up this oldie but goodie. You are certainly much further down the line in working through this than some we’ve discussed it with. More to do yet, of course, but still…..

      .

  • Ron DeChance
    April 3, 2015

    Helpful site. I am an experienced player and always willing to help the beginners. Just email me.

  • John Sweeting
    April 1, 2015

    Thanks for all the unselfish effort, knowledge and resources the creators of this website have contributed to our great family friendly, healthy, fun sport! Blessings!!!!!

    JOHN SWEETING
    Pacific Northwest Regional Director

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