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Pickleball: How to Play This Increasingly Popular Game

October 25, 2022

Learn how to play the increasingly popular game of pickleball. Make new friends by joining local leagues or clubs to ensure you always have a spot to play.

Finding an enjoyable activity from your early youth until you are flirting with retirement is wonderful. Because of varying physical fitness levels throughout life, many sports have a shelf life that allows you only to play for so long. Fortunately, pickleball doesn’t fall into that category since it’s a game people of all ages play. 

Compared to other sports folks enjoy in the US, pickleball isn’t all that old. A group of friends, led by Joel Pritchard, created the game out of thin air to entertain their disgruntled son, who grumbled that he had nothing to do. As most parents have the propensity to do when their child whines that they’re bored, they found a way to get him to do something. Pritchard could have opted for household chores for his son, but he decided to invent one of the fastest-growing games in the United States. 

Let’s learn the basics of pickleball and how to play this increasingly popular game. Pickleball does look like various court games meshed into one, yet it has different equipment, rules, and strategies. 

Getting the Necessary Equipment

A pickleball paddle is one of the most critical pieces of pickleball equipment other than the pickleball itself. But getting a pickleball is simple and doesn’t require diligent research or a trial period to ensure you have the best one. You’ll want to consider the paddle’s weight, as it’s essential to find the best fit for taking your game to the next level. 

Weight is a matter of one’s taste and abilities. Paddles may weigh between 6 and 14 ounces, with most composite paddles landing in the middle. Using a lighter paddle makes sense for someone hampered with a pre-existing injury or a beginner because you have more control. A heavier paddle adds more velocity to a shot but requires more force, and you’ll have less control. 

Regarding the grip, you want a paddle that feels snug in your hand without putting strain on your elbow. If the grip is too loose, the paddle may fly out of your hand, helicoptering across the court, potentially hurting someone and damaging your paddle. The best strategy for finding the best grip is starting small and adjusting accordingly. A smaller grip is better for your game, while a larger grip is better for your arm, so finding that sweet spot is paramount.

Pair of Shoes

Another piece of equipment that’s a must is the correct footwear. The pickleball court requires the appropriate shoes, or you may hurt yourself. The two essential tips for finding the best men’s pickleball sneakers or women’s shoes are that they aren’t running shoes and that they match the court’s playing surface. Running shoes have too much grip and are only meant for you to move forward, whereas pickleball shoes allow for movement in all directions. In terms of playing surfaces, outdoor and indoor pickleball courts differ, so a pair of outside shoes might not work and vice versa.

Other things worth considering are comfortable attire, a ball machine for practicing, and a portable net that allows you to play anywhere. Fromuth Pickleball has a detailed guide on the essential pickleball equipment if you want to learn more.

Understanding the Rules of Pickleball

Now that you have the bare necessities to play the game, we can touch on the rules that help you understand the sport. The first thing you’ll notice about a pickleball match is how the players serve. A player must serve with both feet behind the backline. They must also hit the serve underhand, and it should cross the court on a diagonal line on your opponent’s side. The serve must also come from the right side of the court.

Another inclusive rule for pickleball is the double-bounce rule. This rule states that each side has to let the ball hit the surface once before scoring a point. So, when the server puts the ball into play, the opponent must let it hit once before returning it. Then, the serving team has to do the same before they return it. Once the ball has bounced twice, anything is fair game, assuming it stays in play and you’re not in the non-volley zone. The non-volley zone, otherwise known as the kitchen, is the 7-foot area in front of the net that restricts players from entering it unprovoked to score a point. 

The other rules are like most court games with boundaries and faults. But comprehending how you should serve, what the kitchen is, and the double-bounce rules help you understand the game quicker.

Practicing the Smartest Strategies 

With the basics of the game understood, it’s time to discuss the ideal strategy to walk away from the game as a winner. When you practice, adding more shots to your arsenal is imperative. Learning how to dink, volley, and groundstroke fills your repertoire, which makes you an elite player. And once you learn these shots, you can take advantage of your opponent’s weakness, directing the ball to go on their weak side, whether their forehand or backhand. 

Another helpful tip for improving your game is to realize the middle of the court is where you want to hit it and avoid standing. The middle limits the angles and shots you can take, so backing your opponent into that theoretical corner will have them begging for mercy. The more you make your opposition move, the more opportunities you’ll have. 

How You Can Find a Game

With the rise in popularity, pickleball is no longer a niche game that requires jumping through hoops to play. The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) accounts for local clubs or facilities with a court and interested players. There are multiple pickleball leagues you could join, especially when you browse the USAPA site. If you hit a dead end in your search, you can find another court and convert it into a pickleball court. You can do this by tinkering with the net and limiting the playing space if it’s a tennis court.

With this look into pickleball and how to play this increasingly popular game, you now know how you can get a game going in your neck of the woods. You can get all the gear and equipment at Fromuth Pickleball’s shop, where we carry official pickleball merchandise that the pros use. Stock up because Fromuth Pickleball offers free shipping on all orders above $75!

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