Pickleball is a sport played between two teams of two players each. The object of the game is to hit the ball over the net into your opponent’s court. Each player has a paddle with a rubber ball attached to it.
The goal is to score points by hitting the ball through the opponents’ side of the net.
What Is Pickleball?
Pickleball was developed in the 1950s at the University of Illinois. In the 1970s, the US Army began using pickleball as a training tool for soldiers.
Today, pickleball is played worldwide and is recognized by the International Federation of Sports for the Handicapped (IFH) as a Paralympic Sport.
Pickleball is played on a large grass field with a net separating the courts. There are four main types of strokes: forehand, backhand, lob and smash. The rules of the game are simple.
Players take turns hitting the ball from their respective sides of the net. If the ball goes out of bounds or hits the ground before going over the net, the opposing team gets a point. A match consists of five games where the first team to reach 5 points wins the match.
If you want to play pickleball with someone else, then you can use an indoor rackets table that you can place inside, outside, or near any other type of racket.
A standard rackets table measures approximately 24 inches wide x 18 inches long x 36 inches high and holds 8-10 balls with ease. If need be, you can buy additional balls to make sure there’s enough room for everyone.
The most important thing to remember when playing pickleball is safety. Be careful when walking around the field to avoid being hit by balls. Also, keep an eye out for other people who may not know how to play yet.
It’s easy to get distracted because picking up a rock off the ground to swat away the ball sounds so much easier than actually playing the stroke.
When you’re ready to start practicing pickleball, find yourself a partner who seems like they’d enjoy taking part in this sport. Take them to the local park or just anywhere outdoors.
Have them watch some videos online if they have no clue what all these terms mean. Once you feel comfortable with the basics, try finding more partners to join your group.
You will also benefit from having friends who can help show you the ropes and who can share tips and tricks along the way.
In addition to teaching the fundamentals of picking up a ball and swinging it, don’t forget to practice serving too!
When you serve, you must hit the ball toward the center of the service box or target area. Don’t worry about whether the ball goes past it – just focus on getting it close to it. As with hitting, keep your eyes focused on the white line that surrounds the service box.
While this isn’t really a rule, it helps ensure that you don’t end up with a bad serve.
Learning The Basics
Start by standing at one side of the court, which should be right next to the service box (the left side is considered legal). Place the paddle in front of you in the crook of your arm, holding it in the same manner as you would hold a tennis racquet.
Your legs should be slightly bent or even crossed, but not to the point where your body forms a 90-degree angle between your feet and knees.
Keeping your shoulders squared and head looking ahead, begin moving towards the opposite side of the court by bringing your arms up, keeping your elbows close to your body, and pulling your hands back behind your ears.
At the top of the swing, step into a full squat position. Next, move your arms forward again, letting your hips lead your motion. Finally, lift your knees out to their highest possible point, while still maintaining good posture throughout.
The best shots are the ones that land in the middle of the service box rather than near one edge or another. With that said, you’ll still want to work on the proper swing technique. Swing slowly and naturally; do not pull the shot.
Instead, let the arm go straight down and through the movement of the hips.
Keep your torso facing directly forward throughout the entire swing motion. This should bring you closer to the ball and cause it to travel further when compared to swings made by players who turn their bodies sideways while the arm stays stationary.
The pickleball racquets only have one string level in comparison to tennis racquets which typically have three. Because of this, you won’t be able to adjust the tension as easily as you would with tennis racquets.
Even though the strings are less expensive, they lack longevity. For these reasons, it’s usually recommended that you invest money into buying tennis racquet strings.
While the rules aren’t complicated, the gameplay does require strategy. Just like many sports, pickleball doesn’t offer much in the way of defense.
But because of its lack of defense, it relies heavily on making smart decisions when deciding when to attack and when to hold back.
So, while you don’t need to dedicate weeks to learning the ins and outs of each shot, simply being aware of your opponent’s decision-making process will help you tremendously.
The History Of Pickleball
Pickleball has been played at least since the late 1980s. The earliest known references to the game come from articles appearing in magazines of the time. An early video game, Paddle Ball (1989), was available on the Amiga and MSX personal computers.
In 1992, the first official international event was held at the World Games (now officially called the International Games Foundation). That same year, the United States Pickleball Association (USPA) began publishing the USPA Official Rules Manual.
Since then, there are now numerous national organizations sanctioning events across North America, and over 20 countries around the world with organized pickleball programs.
To score, the team member hits the service line or service box closest to her before the opposing team hits theirs. To win points, the serving player must get all four of her serves into the appropriate boxes.
If she fails to do so, the other team scores 2 points. A successful challenge consists of forcing an error from your opponents in order to prevent them from scoring any points during the rally.
Challenges may use defensive tactics such as putting balls out of bounds before they reach the table, challenging an outside hitter based on his/her positioning, calling strikes, etc.
First things first, make sure you know what kind of pickleball court you’re playing on. Do you have access to a regular outdoor court? Or perhaps you’re playing on some type of indoor synthetic surface?
You’ll likely notice a difference between pickleball courts. Some are more open and spacious, which means you can throw shots farther than those found in standard tennis. Others are tighter and narrower, meaning you’ll find yourself playing close quarters.
You will lose 4 points for every foot that passes over the net. Also, if a ball is hit within six feet of the side-line, the server loses 1 point, even if the ball rebounds off the wall and returns to the baseline.
Similarly, if a ball bounces twice on the ground after hitting a wall, the server automatically loses 1 point.
A typical pickleball match lasts 45 minutes. It begins with the players splitting up into teams of two. Each team plays against the other until one side reaches 15 points. At that point, both sides continue until time runs out. Most games are best of 3 sets.
A few matches are 5. It’s common to see games go to extra sets to determine which team wins. Typically, the winning team receives 30 points.
The sport of pickleball requires a lot of practice but isn’t difficult to learn. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you should be able to enjoy this great new activity. It’s easy to learn yet tricky to master!
Play pickleball today and see how far you can take this fun and competitive game!