A Beginner’s Guide To Pickleball​

Think tennis meets badminton.

Originally Published: 
What is the pickleball game? Here's the lowdown on the sport that's suddenly blowing up.
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All of a sudden, everyone seems to be playing pickleball. Similar to the kickball craze of years past, the trending sport is the perfect excuse to get out of the house, share in friendly competition, and enjoy exercise. But... what is a pickleball game, exactly?

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What Is Pickleball?

According to Ajay Pant, Life Time’s senior director of racquet sports, pickleball is a game played with a whiffle ball and paddles that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong since you volley back and forth. And all skill levels can play.

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Where Do You Play?

You can play pickleball inside or outside, with singles or doubles — all you need is the right kind of ball, paddles, and a court. According to Pant, it’s recommended to play on one that’s badminton-sized, which is 20 feet by 44 feet.

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Pickleball Rules

The ball is served diagonally and points are scored by the side that serves, says Pant. The server continues to serve, alternating service courts, until they fault. The first side that scores eleven points and leads by at least two points wins.

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No Spiking!

You don’t want opponents to hit back, but players on each side must let the ball bounce once before the volleys are allowed, says Pant. “There’s a 7-foot no-volley zone named ‘the kitchen’ on each side of the net.” This is to prevent players from spiking the ball.


It’s Low-Impact

A game of pickleball puts a lot less stress on the body than other racquet sports, Pant explains, so it really is perfect for anyone who wants or needs to protect their joints. To keep the game relaxed, simply go easy as you volley back and forth.

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It Boosts Heart Health

To take it up a notch, move vigorously around the court. According to the American Council on Exercise, pickleball can improve your cardiovascular fitness, especially if you get competitive.


It Improves Strength & Agility

Pickleball can also help you improve your strength and agility. Similar to tennis, it utilizes all of the muscles in the legs because you need to quickly change direction on the court, Pant says. It also calls on the arms and core as you swing.

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It Boosts Your Mood

On top of moving your body, the fact you get to play with others makes pickleball a great mood booster. “The social interaction that comes with pickleball is good for your brain health,” Pant says. All the more reason to grab a paddle.

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