What Is Pickleball And How Can You Get Into It?
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What Is Pickleball And How Can You Get Into It?

The fast-paced, highly competitive sport for all ages.

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What Is Pickleball And How Can You Get Into It?
Wolf Sports

When summer time comes around, I'm usually doing one of three things: swimming, working as a lifeguard, or playing pickleball with some friends. As a competitive swimmer, the first two activities are expected, but pickleball? What is pickleball? Where I went to high school, almost everybody loved pickleball. There were multiple tournaments every year dedicated to the sport, including the alumni tournament, in which all alumni may participate with and against current students. When I went to college, however, I realized pickleball is unknown to many. But what is pickleball and what makes it so great?

The Basics

Without going too in depth, pickleball plays similarly to tennis mixed with ping-pong, played with badminton rules. The overall court size is exactly the same as a badminton court but with small differences in the lines and a lower net - paddle tennis courts also work very well as they are the correct size and have a similar net height. The ball is plastic, not unlike a ping-pong ball, but much larger and more durable. Also like ping-pong, the sport is played using a flat paddle rather than a strung racket, but again much larger than in ping-pong. From personal experience, pickleball feels most similar to tennis but on a much smaller court. All of the different components may sound confusing, but the game feels natural after a few rounds.

The rules of play are a little more complicated at first, but are easy to learn after a little while. A summary of the rules can be found on the USAPA website. Scoring stands out as the most difficult part to understand for some, and unlike most racket sports, only the team that serves the ball can score a point. Every time the server or his / her partner loses a rally, a new player serves so that one team does not have any unfair advantage.

Who Is Pickleball For?

The short answer? Everyone. Pickleball is in many ways a more accessible version of tennis. For young people, the learning curve is less steep than tennis and the sport is very fast paced. Compared to tennis, pickleball requires far less running across the court to play well. Less running is an attractive attribute for older audiences who may have played tennis in the past but cannot match the speed of younger players. Players with fast reaction times may try their luck at the net while playing and control the court. Agile players may stay in the back of the court and work to win with consistency and endurance. Everyone has a different play style to keep the game interesting.

Pickleball is a blast. It is very competitive when played with the right people, very fast-paced, and a very enjoyable activity overall.

Getting Into Pickleball

All that is really needed to get into the sport is a paddle. Pickleball paddles can be bought from various online sellers and other stores and can range anywhere from about $20 to upwards of $150, with $75-85 being the median price of a "good" paddle. The Champion series of paddles is a common starting point for new players, but there are plenty of other options as well. Compared to pickleball paddles, many tennis racquets cost over $200 and also have maintenance costs for strings, grips, etc. Tennis shoes are recommended for playing pickleball, but really any running shoes or other sneakers work perfectly fine for most people. Balls typically run less than $3 each, and are, of course, cheaper in bulk. While more expensive than tennis balls, pickleball balls tend to last longer and usually only crack after extensive use or use in freezing weather.

Most players will not need to purchase a net, but if there is absolutely nowhere nearby to play, then a net should not break the bank. Pickle-ball brand nets are a safe bet and can be purchased with paddle bundles for players just getting into the sport.



Pickleball is truly addicting and I have spent countless hours playing with friends. In addition to being enjoyable, pickleball is great exercise for players of all ages. Never played pickleball? That's alright, the cost is not too high and it can be played on a variety of different courts, as long as the dimensions are correct. Don't know who to play with? Ask some friends or family, anyone who likes competition or fast-paced exercise. In saying pickleball is for everyone, I truly believe it. I have played with and against friends of my age and younger, people in their 20's, my father, my physical education teachers in high school, and many more. Pickleball is a growing sport, accessible for all ages, and there is no better time to try it out than right now.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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