Pickleball 101 How to Play

Pickleball 101: A Beginner's Guide to the Sport

Pickleball is more than just a sport with a quirky name; it's a fun, engaging, and rapidly growing game that people of all ages can enjoy. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or someone looking for a new hobby, pickleball offers a unique blend of excitement and challenge. But how do you get started? Let's dive into the basics!

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. Played both indoors and outdoors on a badminton-sized court, it's a game that can be quickly learned by beginners yet offers enough depth to keep seasoned players engaged.

People playing pickleball

How Do You Play Pickleball for Beginners?

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. The Serve: Just like in tennis, the game begins with a serve. However, in pickleball, the serve must be underhand, making it more accessible for players of all ages.
  2. The Return: Once the ball is served, the opposing team must let it bounce once before returning it.
  3. The Dink: Wondering what "Dink" means in pickleball? It's a soft shot, aimed at landing the ball just over the net in the opponent's non-volley zone. Mastering the dink is crucial for strategic play.
  4. Scoring: Only the serving team can score. The game is played to 11 points, but a team must win by at least 2 points.

Basic Pickleball Rules:

  • The ball must be served diagonally.
  • The serve should always start from the right-hand side.
  • Players must serve underhand, and the paddle must pass below the waist.
  • The ball should be hit without bouncing (volley) only if the player is not in the non-volley zone.

Basic Rules of Pickleball

What Skills Are Needed to Play Pickleball?

  1. Hand-Eye Coordination: Essential for hitting the ball accurately.
  2. Agility: Quick movements and reflexes are crucial, especially for net play.
  3. Strategy: Like chess, thinking a few moves ahead can give you an edge.

Health and Pickleball:

Many wonder, "Is pickleball harder on your knees than tennis?" or "Is pickleball easier on knees?" The answer largely depends on your play style. However, the smaller court size generally means less running, which can be easier on the knees. It's a reason why many seniors find joy in playing pickleball. To stay in shape for pickleball, regular cardio exercises and strength training can be beneficial.

Determining Your Skill Level:

As you progress, you might wonder, "How do you know what skill level you are in pickleball?" Typically, players self-rate based on their abilities, from beginner to advanced. Participating in local leagues or tournaments can also give you a clearer idea of where you stand.

Challenges in Pickleball:

Every player faces challenges. Some might find mastering the serve difficult, while others might struggle with strategy. The key is consistent practice and learning from each game.

Elevate Your Game with Helium!

At Helium, we're not just a brand; we're a community of pickleball enthusiasts based in Phoenix, AZ. We understand the nuances of the game and the needs of players. That's why we offer products like the Helium Junior Pickleball Paddle Set. Tailored for children aged 4-11, these paddles are lightweight, have a smaller grip size, and come with fun designs like POW! and Girl Power. Made with the same high-quality materials as our standard paddles, they're perfect for getting your child excited about the game.


Check out our other Junior Paddle sets here.

Need an adult size paddle? Check out our collection.


In conclusion, pickleball is a sport that offers endless fun and challenges. Whether you're just starting out or looking to refine your skills, remember to enjoy the journey. And if you're in need of top-notch gear, Helium has got you covered!

Back to blog

Junior Paddles