How to Play Pickleball Like a Pro

Introduction to Pickleball

Pickleball is an outdoor sport that is rapidly growing in popularity. It is a combination of badminton, tennis, and table tennis that can be played by two, three, or four players. Level of difficulty varies from beginner to expert and it is a great way to spend time outdoors with friends and family.

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering how to even get started playing pickleball. Let’s dive in and discuss the basics and fundamentals of this exciting game:

Overview of the game

Pickleball is a popular and rapidly growing paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. Played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and with a slightly modified tennis net, pickleball is great for all ages and skill levels.

Game play begins with players standing in their respective service zones of the court across from each other. The serving player or team strikes the ball diagonally into their opponent’s service zone using an underhand stroke with a paddle. The ball must be hit back over the net before it can bounce more than once on either side of the court. Points are earned when opponents are unable to return the ball within their own service zone or commit a foul, like hitting the ball out of bounds or into the net. Games are typically played to 11 points but can vary depending on skill level and tournament regulations.

Pickleball offers something special for everyone – whether you’re already an avid badminton player looking to mix it up or just starting out on your pickleball journey, you’re sure to have fun! With its easy ruleset, fast pace, and social nature, pickleball is quickly becoming the go-to sport for people who want some healthy competition without sacrificing having a good time!

Rules and regulations

Pickleball is a great game for people of all ages, from beginners to more experienced players, and provides hours of fun! Learning the basic rules and regulations of pickleball will provide you with the necessary foundation to successfully participate in a game.

In pickleball, each team is composed of two players, who stand directly across from each other on the court. The game is played on a badminton-sized court with halves that are divided by a net. The court’s boundary lines are considered in play; therefore should the ball land outside the boundary line it will be considered out.

Players can use wooden paddles or composite paddles, although the most common type used is usually a wooden paddle or composite paddle. Wooden paddles are typically lighter and taller than composite paddles which are usually shorter but heavy.

In a friendly competitive atmosphere, players take turns hitting an air-filled ball over the net until one side fails to return it correctly, resulting in them losing the point. A player cannot hit the ball twice in succession and should avoid having consecutive hits as well as any contact with their partner’s paddle or net violations such as carrying/lifting/throwing for intentional maneuvering of ball. Furthermore, there are serving rules that dictate which player serves first and from where based on whether they won or lost past points as well as special rules for when playing against seniors or younger opponents.

Players must keep track of their score using the 15-point system common to tennis (love, 15-all, 30-all etc.) so that both teams know when they have won an individual match; games typically go up to 11 points though score values can vary depending upon context (tournaments etc.) At their discretion both teams may agree to go up to 13 points when playing longer rallies or fun matches too.


Pickleball is a popular sport that can be played in a variety of different settings. To get started playing pickleball, the first thing you need is the right equipment. This includes a pickleball paddle, pickleball balls, and a pickleball net. Before you can start playing, you need to make sure you have the proper equipment.

Let's take a look at what is needed to play pickleball:

  • Pickleball paddle
  • Pickleball balls
  • Pickleball net


Pickleball paddles come in a variety of sizes and styles, but most are about 17 inches long with an average weight between 7 – 8 ounces and a maximum width of 8 inches. The size and style you choose generally depends on your skill level and playing style, though there are no hard-fast rules when it comes to paddle selection.

Paddles typically features either wood or composite faces, ranging from softer to harder depending on the materials used. Wood paddles tend to have round edges while composite paddles generally have square edges – both designed to provide the optimum performance experience.

It’s also important to pay attention to the grip when selecting your pickleball paddle; most players prefer an ergonomic handle for better control. The shape and material used in the paddle’s grip can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so be sure that you try out several different styles before committing. Here are some of the most popular grips:

  • Cushion Grip
  • Perforated Grip
  • Tackified Grip
  • Fan Grip

Finally, pickleball paddles also come with either weighted or unweighted heads – again this all comes down to personal preference depending on how you want your shot speed/performance ratio balanced out during a game.


Pickleballs should be yellow and made of hard plastic. Speciality balls with different colors and textures can be used for instructional purposes or regulation games. Generally, pickleballs are 40mm or 2 1/2 inches wide, weigh 0.8 ounces and travel at a speed up to 75 mph when hit with a paddle. They are designed to maintain their shape and structure even after countless serves, volleys and games.

In addition, pickleballs should have holes drilled throughout the surface in order to keep them light in weight and aerodynamic in flight.


Pickleball is played on a court measuring 20 by 44 feet, divided in half by a net. The special pickleball net should measure 36 inches (91 cm) at the center and 34inches (86 cm) on either side. Lines outside of this area should run along the sides for singles play, and pasted onto the ground for doubles play. A line running perpendicular to the net down the middle of the court divides it into two equal halves. The on-duty team lines up behind these two lines when serving.

On each side of this line, the court should be split into two service boxes that measure 7 feet long and 8 feet wide. A 3-foot non-volley zone positioned 7 feet from each side of the net is marked for safety purposes – players are not allowed to hit volleys from within these areas. Finally, a back line at either end limits any balls to being within bounds as long as they land in front of it before bouncing twice or hitting an obstacle such as a wall or fence.

Playing the Game

Pickleball is an exciting and fast-paced game that can be played by anyone of any age. It is easy to learn the basics and is a great way to have fun while getting exercise.

This section will cover the basic rules and strategies of pickleball and give tips on how to play the game.


Serving is an important part of the game. It gives the server a chance to take control of the game at the start by putting it where their opponents can not easily return it. At the beginning of each match, a coin toss decides which team serves first. Players then alternate service from that point through the remainder of the game.

Serving must be done diagonally, so your serve must cross over to an opponent’s service court (the court diagonal from you). If a serve lands outside its designated court or fails to clear top of the net, it is considered an out, resulting in a point for your opponent's team. Your opponents have up to three opportunities to make a good return on their side. If they fail and return an illegal shot, your team will score a point. There are no second serves in pickleball; if you miss your first serve, you lose that point and possession goes to your opponent’s team.

Each time your side wins a point on serve, you keep serving until you lose that point. To change servers within each game (team) when every two points have been scored is known as “right handers take” this insures both left and right handed players get equal chances of carrying out services to their opponents. At this moment when serving over changes hands again and plays continues in this manner until one team establishes itself as champion either through:

  • reaching 11 points
  • establishing two points ahead throughout 21 points

whichever happens first gives them victory!


Scoring in pickleball works differently from other racquet sports such as tennis or badminton. Each game begins with both sides at 0 points, and players rally until one side scores 11 points. The side that first scores 11 (or more) points wins the game, as long as they are ahead by at least two points. For example, if a team is leading 10-9, they must continue play until either the score is 11-9 or 12-9 before the game is over. If both teams reach 10 points each then it’s known as ‘deuce’; in this case the first team to reach 12 will win the game, unless their opponents subsequently manage to reach 12 too.

A regular pickleball rally lasts until either player fails to observe one of the rules such as striking the ball out of bounds or missing their return shot; in this case a point is awarded to the team who didn't make a mistake, on condition that their opponent was unable to retrieve or deflect it with their racket.

It's important that both players mark their score accurately after each successful point so neither side has any disputes over who scored what throughout the course of each game.


Once you are familiar with the basic rules and have begun playing pickleball games, it’s time to think about ways to dominate the court. To excel at pickleball, you must become a master of strategy in addition to a skilled player. You need to be creative in your shot selection and know when to push risk or smartly play it safe. Here are some of the most important strategies used when playing pickleball:

  1. Paddle placement – This strategy focuses on hitting the ball strategically depending on where your opponent is standing relative to the full court. You can try hitting it away from them or towards their body for a more difficult approach shot.
  2. Serve placement – When serving a ball in pickleball, aim for different zones of the court and make sure that your serves make contact with different parts of the channel (the zone between both service lines). This will prevent your opponent from getting comfortable defending their preferred zone.
  3. Attack/defend based on scores – If you are leading during a game, use more attack shots like lobs, dropshots and smashes as opposed to defensive shots like blocks, dinks and soft returns in order for you stay competitive yet protected against errors that may arise from aggressive plays within pickleball matches.
  4. Shorten or lengthen rallies – You can either shorten or lengthen rallies depending on the scoreline; by shortening rallies frequently if losing points while keeping rallies going if winning points when needed helps players stay competitive while still protecting themselves against mistakes which could potentially arise from taking too many risks too frequently without strategic planning in advance during an actual game match-up.

As with any sport, practice makes perfect when trying out various strategies during matches. With these tactics under your belt and some skill development work outs regularly throughout your practices sessions, you’ll be well prepared to use these methods effectively on court!

Pickleball Etiquette

Pickleball is an exciting game, but it's important to remember to follow the rules and etiquette of the game. Good sportsmanship is an important part of the game and you should always show respect and courtesy to your opponents.

This section will focus on the proper etiquette for the game of pickleball:

Court manners

Pickleball is a social sport that requires players to respect one another and it’s important to understand the proper court manners before engaging in a match. The following are some court etiquette standards that are recommended for both singles and doubles matches.

  • Salutations – When starting a game, players should greet and shake hands with their opponent(s). Practicing basic court manners is not only polite but also demonstrates your respect for the other player(s).
  • Calling Out Scores – In Pickleball, it is considered courteous for players to loudly call out the score of each point before serving. This alerts the other player(s) to the tally and helps them to focus on their strategy throughout the game. After each point, it is also important that each team acknowledge with a ‘Good shot’ or ‘Nice Shot!’ as appropriate.
  • Pace of Play – Playing at a consistent pace helps maintain an enjoyable atmosphere on the court, while allowing all players an opportunity to develop their skills. In order to provide an even playing field, it is advised that picklers keep within 15 seconds between serves so as not disrupt any rhythm or momentum within play.
  • Expectations on Serving – Both teams are expected to take turns when serving and all faults must be acknowledged by alternative sides prior to continuation of play. If a fault has been made by either team, sending service to either side of the net as needed so as not disrupt any flow during play will allow for effective counter-management in order for the game continue uninterruptedly.


Good sportsmanship is an important part of playing pickleball. It involves respect: respect for the game, respect for your opponent and respect for yourself. Adherence to the rules, acceptance of one’s mistakes, and proper conduct all contribute to a pleasant pickleball experience for all players.

When on the court, it is important that players have the utmost respect for their opponents’ rights to safety and fair play at all times. No one should use their racket as a shield from an incoming ball and no matter how hard you hit the ball it should never be done in an obnoxious or dangerous manner towards other players or spectators. Furthermore, arguing with your opponents about calls will not be tolerated on any court as this will be considered disruptive behavior.

It is important to remain calm and collected during games. Although pickleball is a competitive sport you should avoid relying too heavily on your opponent’s mistakes or bad luck; these instances should simply be accepted instead of being celebrated or gloated upon. After every point regardless of result a simple handshake between competitor will show mutual respect between each player which results in a more enjoyable pickleball experience overall.

Players may occasionally need help or advice when playing; this encouragement knows no boundaries so ensure you treat your opponents with dignity if you are ever offering support or guidance throughout the game even if they are competing against you at that point in time. Remember to always stay humble as this will help build good relationships both off and on court that can lead to further enjoyable experiences when competing in future games.

Advanced Techniques

Once you have mastered the basics of playing pickleball, you can use advanced techniques to take your game to the next level. Advanced techniques can help you gain an advantage over your opponents and make your pickleball game more enjoyable.

Common advanced techniques include:

  • Developing spin
  • Mastering footwork
  • Learning how to play offensive and defensive pickleball

In this article, we will discuss all of these techniques and how to practice them.

Spinning the ball

One of the most important elements of a pickleball game is the spin on the ball. Adding spin can make a return shot more difficult for your opponent to hit, giving you the advantage. Although it takes some practice, learning proper technique when applying spin will give you an edge.

When hitting with top spin, focus on hitting with a slightly upward motion, brushing up through the ball. This should capture some of the topspin which will cause the ball to drop faster and take a bigger bounce than normal, making it harder to return. When hitting with backspin your goal should be to get under the ball and hit it with an descent angle and negative acceleration. This will help slow down or stop forward momentum of your opponent's pickleball – causing it to drop short on their side of net.

It is also important to note that you must adjust where on your paddle your contact point is when using spins so that your paddle does not pull underneath or flip over as you make contact as this could decrease amount of spin placed on ball.

Practicing proper spinning techniques for both forehand and backhand strokes regularly can give certain players an edge in pickleball games as opponents may have difficulty returning these shots due to uncontrollable bouncing patterns caused by spin on ball. Careful analysis and adjustment is sometimes necessary in order for these shots to work consistently against competitive opponents but putting in effort will pay off in long run!

Drop shots

Drop shots are an advanced stroke used by experienced pickleball players. An effective drop shot enables you to keep the ball low and slow, disrupting your opponent’s rhythm and forcing them to move. When playing a drop shot, it's important to control your body position and the angle of your racquet in order to place the ball at an advantageous spot on the court.

For a successful dropshot, position yourself on the court around 3 feet behind where you’re striking the ball, with your feet close together and torso upright. Hold your racket in front of you with a relaxed grip. As you lower into position for the strike, begin loading weight onto your back foot, allowing your elbow to rise as you shift into a more comfortable stance for power. Keep your arm firm and your staying movement fluid and controlled as build up power for the drop shot.

  • Positioning is key – strike close to or over the non-volley zone line while aiming no higher than net height in order to keep it low and slow.
  • Make sure not to hit too hard or you might get caught out by reaching opponents!


Volleys can make or break a rally in pickleball, as they are the only time for a player to hit the ball in midair. Like every shot in pickleball, volleys require positioning, skill and technique. If executed properly, volleys can give the serving team an effective way to score and put pressure on their opponents.

To be successful at volleying requires making quick and accurate decisions – for example, when is the best time to hit your volley? Generally, volleys that immediately follow serves shouldn’t be attacked since they have less opportunity to set up. When you see an open court after your opponent hits their return, however, you should try to take advantage of this opening by attacking with a volley of your own.

Good volleys should always be struck with a flat paddle face and with control over spin and speed. Learning how to control your paddle face is essential for consistently creating good shots – depending on which side of the court you are hitting from will determine which way the spin should go. Pay attention to how your opponent puts spin on their shots so that you know how much power needs to be put behind yours. Finally, although it seems counterintuitive because of its speed, remember that accuracy is much more important than power when it comes to effective volleying.