March 23, 2022

Beginner’s pickleball tipsMan playing pickle ball

We’ve all been there. You think you’re decent at a game. Then a friend invites you out to the court and you get absolutely smoked.

It’s even worse in a sport like pickleball. If you’re playing doubles, you just have to watch your partner’s face as you flub every shot. You apologize, everyone says it’s no big deal, but we all know the truth. It’s a very, very big deal.

This is why it’s worth picking up a few pickleball tips before you even consider giving it a thwack. You’ll have much more fun and you won’t learn as many bad beginner’s habits that you’ll have to break later. Read on for a few tips!

BE CONTROLLED

A simple way to win lots of pickleball games is to simply avoid making mistakes. You’re better off playing gently and conservatively.

Don’t get too fancy or think too much. Return the ball to your other team’s court and aim for their feet.

Against most players, this strategy will win more than you might think. Your doubles partner will like you. Plus, even advanced players will get overly confident and screw up the return.

FANCY FOOTWORK

Pickleball is similar to tennis in that it’s a game that’s about your feet as much as it is anything else. The player who can get to the right place at the right time will make better hits and win more points.

To that end, having equipment like our Ultimate Pickleball Shorts can make a big difference.

They are ultra comfortable and with a 7” inseam, they’re easy to bend your knees in. This is a sport where getting under the ball is very important.

GET READY

Just like tennis, stay in the “ready” position at all times, with knees slightly bent and your paddle up. Always watch the ball as it hits your paddle and try to hit it in front of your body. Make sure you commit to your swing. Don’t neglect your follow-through!

PRACTICE
YOUR SHOTS!

There are many types of shots in pickleball but check out some pros on YouTube. Having a visual will help much more than any text description. Practice your shots at home before you even get to the court. It’s not as fun, but if you can build in some muscle memory you’ll be much more controlled in those high stress situations.

THE "SERVE BIG"
STRATEGY

On your serve, try to aim your ball deep into your opponent’s back court, usually on their backhand side. Try to do the same when you’re returning as well.

That said, if you’re not super controlled, just aim for the middle of the court. Again, you’re better off not making mistakes than getting too fancy.

CONTROLLING
THE KITCHEN

You might be wondering why you want to serve and return the ball way to the back of your opponent’s court. There’s a seven-foot zone in front of both teams’ nets where neither player is allowed to volley a ball. This area is called the “no volley zone," or the “kitchen.”

Playing right at the kitchen line is very important. It’s where most points are won.

This power position lets a player perform rapid returns, volleys, smashes and the like. So, if you can keep another player away from it, you’ll have an advantage.

SLAM DINK

That said, you often don’t want to smash it back there. A great shot in any player’s arsenal is the “dink.” It’s aptly named. It’s a low, slow and somewhat hilarious shot. It’s just a soft little love tap on the ball aimed right at your opponent’s kitchen.

Because it’s in the kitchen, your opponent can’t volley or smash it back. They’ll have to wait for the ball to bounce. This is an excellent way of controlling your opponents.

Generally speaking, a player who can dink every shot is much more valuable than a player who tries to smash the ball like a maniac. That said, a dink requires a good deal of finesse. Make sure to bend your knees to get under the ball.

BE PATIENT

Finally, go into it aiming to have fun. Don’t worry too much about what other people think. Unless they were ping pong or tennis stars, they probably weren’t instant pickleball champions as a beginner. Enjoy the game and don’t take your mistakes too seriously. Every minute you spend playing, you get better. But most importantly, make sure to play with people who make it fun.