Getting Started

Getting Started

Let us tell you a poorly kept secret; All you need to start playing pickleball are the basics.
  • Basic pickleball equipment
  • At least one other person
  • Any hard surface
Here are a few pointers on getting started.


What's great about pickleball is that the only equipment necessary to play is a paddle and pickleball.

Pickleballs look similar to wiffle balls, but are slightly heavier with different hole placements. When choosing what pickleball to use, the only differences to pay attention to are between indoor or outdoor play.

  • Outdoor pickleballs have approximately 40 smaller holes and are heavier than indoor balls. This helps compensate for the external factors such as wind that will affect your shot.
  • Indoor pickleballs are lighter and have around 26 larger holes.

Pickleball paddles were originally made of plywood that worked against the player, slowing down reaction time and limiting control. As the game evolved, so did the paddle. The two key aspects to focus on when getting started are

  1. Quick hands
  2. Controlled movements

The need to improve these aspects of play brought Pickleball into the late 80's, when Boeing engineer, Arlen Paranto, created new type of composite paddle.

Today, most paddles on the market are engineered with a honeycomb core with either a fiberglass, graphite surface, or carbon fiber facing (as seen on the Prolite Black Diamond Series).

It's easy to feel overwhelmed with the abundance of paddles, all varying in weight, shape, material, and handle size. With our Fit Your Game tool, we took the stress out of choosing a paddle so you can jump right into the game.

Court Setup

As long as you have a hard surface and enough space to move, you can play Pickleball virtually anywhere. It can be on the gym floor, hardwood, asphalt, tennis court, or even thinner hard carpet.

Pickleball courts are often placed over existing tennis courts, simply converting them with painted lines or temporary painter’s tape. Additionally, since tennis court nets are slightly higher than a Pickleball net, many players wrap bungee cords around the net posts and connect them to the net. This lowers the net to the appropriate dimensions

  • Mid-net height: 34″
  • Side-net height: 36″

If you are going for a more DIY-approach where there are no dedicated courts, purchasing portable net systems is another option. You would then need to set removable court lines. Some more common methods include

  • Chalk
  • Chalk paint pens
  • Tape
Special Tip: Set up your court in a north/south direction so that neither team needs to fight the sun.

Standard pickleball courts are 44' by 20'. The length of the court is then divided into four sections, similar to tennis courts. The centerline of the court, where the net is placed, is located 22' from either baseline. Seven feet from the center line and net are two perpendicular lines called the non-volley lines (Pickleball Lingo Tip: This area is commonly called"the kitchen.")

The remaining 15' on both sides are the service courts. Serves must land in this area, completely clearing the non-volley zone line. There is a centerline lengthwise down the court, 10' from the outside barrier lines.

Creating your own court takes takes time and be confusing, but you can check out Rob Noonan's court for a handy example.