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How to Play Pickleball - Essentials Prior to Play

Published: 2022-05-10
How to Play Pickleball - Essentials Prior to Play
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Pickleball is a bit of badminton, tennis, bowling, dodge ball, paddle tennis, corn hole, ping pong and I would even say pogo sticking. It has a whimsical name that invokes the fun spirit and social aspect that brings players to the courts for hours at a time. There is a disclaimer as the sport is addicting. Here are a few tips before you choose to jump in.

The clothing

It varies according to your personal style, so anything from tennis apparel to long pants for hiking and long-sleeved sun shirts. You will be moving, so make sure they are a comfortable fit. In the winter, you are likely to see people playing with gloves, scarves, caps, and leggings or sweatpants. Having a hat or visor is also great for sun protection. Eye protection is a MUST! The ball can easily hit you, so it is imperative to protect your eyes, even if you are indoors or playing at night. Have a clear pair and one for the sun on at all times.


The paddles

Paddles are specially made for the sport. They come in all sorts of materials, such as composite, graphite, hybrid, carbon… Finding a store that will let you take several home to demo for a few days is a great option. See what grip/handle feels comfortable in your hand and hit some balls. At first, you may not feel a difference in how the ball feels when it hits the paddle; however, that feeling will come after many hits. I would recommend not buying a wooden paddle or the cheapest one on the market. Most players end up with many different paddles in their bags.


Read our complete article about pickleball paddles.





All the balls are whiffle balls, and yes, there is a variety to choose from. Start out choosing whether you are going to play inside or outside. The indoor balls are lighter, so they have a soft and quieter bounce. They have fewer holes in them, so they tend to be easier to control. The outdoor balls are typically heavier and better for power. If you live in a warm climate in the summer, one tip is to prepare a small cooler with ice and keep your spare balls there just before you play. Bring the cooler to the court with you, as you may find you will want to change out the balls after a few games. The heat softens the ball and changes the bounce and feel. Keeping the balls cool (hard) contributes to the consistency.

Gamma Chuck Outdoor Pickleballs

The shoes

Shoes are also very important. Court or tennis shoes will give you the support you need to make the lateral movements needed. Most courts do not have concerns about the color of the tread, especially if you are playing outdoors. Make sure they are comfortable and supportive on the sides. If you play a lot, you will likely wear through a pair in six months, so I recommend buying two pairs and alternating them between with your play. Your shoes mustn't have a lip on the sides. You can easily trip and slip.




Many courts don’t have drinking fountains, so bring a lot of water with you and drink. There is a saying to drink before you are thirsty; otherwise, it’s too late. You expend a lot of energy in this game, and most of us develop a sweat. I always add electrolytes to my water to keep my energy level up. This helps my endurance and replenishes the vitamins and minerals I may lose. Don’t find yourself without water. Many courts allow you to bring your bottle onto the court and place it in a corner out of the way.

Lastly, stretching before and after play helps prevent injuries. Your joints are also important, so remember your ankle and wrist rolls as well. One area that often gets overlooked is your hip flexors, which are a must-have for stretching. Add these tips to your stretching and cardio routine before you get on the court.

Find the court nearest you, and you’ll look at the part to get started.