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Best advice for beginning pickleball players

October 3rd, 2022 | 3 min. read

By Jen Azevedo

You’ve got the bug, haven’t you? The pickleball bug that is… 

If so, you are literally one of the thousands that have joined in the greatest sport ever invented (at least for some of us).

Pickleball started out attracting the 55+ community in the 1970s and 80s. But younger adults and youth just couldn’t stay away, and now it truly is a sport for all aged athletes.

The Paseo Club is a social club with fitness classes, a junior-Olympic pool, and tennis and pickleball courts. We offer pickleball group classes, private lessons, and many pickleball events throughout the year. 

We know it can be tough to learn how to play a new game. We don’t want to leave you in the dark.

That is why in this article, we will tell you everything you need to know as a beginner pickleball player. You will learn what gear you need, how to develop your skills, where to find a court near you, and more.


How does a person begin playing pickleball?

A starter class is the best way to engage in a new sport like pickleball. 

You’ll have access to a professional instructor who can help explain the rules of the game as well as the foundational skills needed to play.  

While learning to dink, volley, drive, and serve, you’ll also be socializing with other new players, helping to create a network of friends to continue to play with as you get comfortable.


What equipment is needed to play pickleball?

You’ll need a good pair of court shoes to help you navigate the multi-plane movement on the court.  

When you come to a starter class, there are paddles available to try, and the instructor will come prepared with a basket of balls, which looks like a hard Wiffle ball. 

Eventually, you’ll want to buy your own paddle and pickleballs.


How do you learn the rules of pickleball? Is it the same as tennis?

While it looks like mini tennis to the untrained eye, pickleball is completely different from tennis. 

Scoring, positioning, form, and movement are all centered differently. Although a tennis player can start to drive the ball right away, they’ll have a transition period when it’s difficult to play as well as someone without a court background.  

While singles are gaining in popularity, doubles are still the most-played version of pickleball, and scoring is closer to volleyball than tennis.  


Can a person start playing a game right away or do they need to practice drills first?

One of the best things about playing pickleball is the learning curve. 


If you have someone teaching you how to begin to play, you can participate later that day. 

While it may take some time to feel comfortable with the scoring and positioning (especially with first and second servers) as long as you are willing to correct on the go, you can play almost immediately. 


Do you need to know a pickleball player to get started?

You can find millions of pickleball videos on your phone — and they will help in some ways. 

Also, as the popularity of pickleball continues to grow, you can find pro matches broadcast on the Tennis Channel, allowing you to take notes while your favorite players battle it out. 

But having another person to hit with will make starting easier and more fun! When you join a club, you’ll be introduced to many players immediately, and you’ll get to engage with them all.


How do you find a pickleball court?

Most public park courts employ a drop-in style of play to keep players moving in small court spaces. You can check your local parks and rec department website to learn about court locations and the reservation process.

If you’re looking to reserve court time or participate in a league of players, look to your club courts for more structure.  


Should I join a pickleball league? 

Joining leagues is a great way to compete against other teams in a scheduled time setting. 

At many private clubs, league play is often available for men’s, women’s, and mixed playing, as well as flex singles play. Scheduled drop-ins are for everyone to enjoy playing together. 

There are league events between clubs to offer a tournament-style of play without the cost. Teams compete throughout the season. At the end of the season, there is often a league party to give out medals and celebrate the winners. 


What physical fitness can a person do off of the courts to improve their game?

Functional fitness is the best way to keep from getting injured on the pickleball court.  

Repetitive motions in hitting serves, squatting to dink, and smashing balls can harm your hamstrings and shoulders over time.  

Pilates and yoga are two great ways to elongate muscles that get tight on the court, while HIIT and resistance-focused classes will help keep all your muscles strong enough to withstand the pressure of playing. 


Final advice for beginning pickleball players

Try the game! It’s the fastest-growing sport in the country for a reason. 

Learning a new sport like pickleball opens a whole new social avenue to explore while burning calories and having fun. 

In fact, the social impact of playing a sport like pickleball is almost more important than the physical aspect. As we continue to move away from pandemic life into a new chapter, the ability to interact with others and meet new people can’t be overstated. 

The Paseo Club has 11 pickleball courts available for practice and play. We host round robins and charity pickleball events too. 

Paseo also offers over 60 fitness classes per week that you can attend to cross-train for pickleball.

To check out our pickleball courts or meet some of our expert instructors, schedule a tour of the Paseo Club.

Interested in learning more about pickleball? Here are some of our favorite reads:

Jen Azevedo

Jen Azevedo is a person of many talents. She is a tennis professional, pickleball professional, personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and the general manager of the Paseo Club. She loves the community at the Paseo Club and that it is also a safe and fun place for her daughter. Jen’s favorite activities are joining her tribe for trail races or her partners for tennis matches. Occasionally Jen slows down to relax with a book — she reads over 100 a year!