Beginner Guide

Last updated: 5/21/22

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How To Get Started

You just heard about this wonderful new sport called Pickleball and you want to try it out but don’t know where to start…well here’s a quick guide to help you out!

 

  • The easiest and most efficient way to get started in pickleball is to find someone you know who is really into it. It’s incredibly likely that they will do whatever they can to give you a healthy start to the sport. Trust me; Pickleball players are always searching for new players to play with and usually have equipment you can borrow.

  • If you are starting from scratch, we recommend learning the basic rules before hitting the local courts to play. This will allow you to pick up on the game much quicker when you first get to the court. It’s ok to only know the basics. You’ll learn the rest as you start playing with others. See our overview of the Basic Rules

  • You’ll need basic equipment - this includes a paddle (~$50-$60 for a beginner paddle), pickleball ball (~$10 pack of 3), and some type of sturdy tennis or court shoe. If all you have are running shoes, that will work for the first few sessions but poses some risk to injury. More details on equipment down below.

  • Next, you’ll need to find a place to play - we’ve got you covered with our list of best places to play for a beginner in the Cleveland area. See below!

  • Booking a lesson with an instructor or joining a clinic is also a great way to learn. See who and where you can do this in Cleveland on our Instructor page and Events page

 

Basic Equipment

  • Starter kits - these kits typically come with two paddles, pickleballs and a carrying case. This can be great for a couple or family interested in getting started as it provides multiple pieces of equipment for a lower price point, rather than having to purchase everything individually, which tends to be more expensive.

  • Paddle

    • Composite - We recommend getting an entry level composite paddle (~$60). This allows for a better experience as compared to a wooden paddle, in control, power, weight and a sweet spot. 

      • Selecting a paddle as a beginner is more about what you should avoid, rather than what you should get. 

      • Here are some things you should avoid:

        • Nomex and aluminum core paddles.

        • Elongated or “blade” paddles. These are the skinny looking paddles.

        • Avoid wooden paddles of any kind.

        • Paddles that are under 6.5 oz, or over 9 oz.

    • Beginner recommendation

  • Pickleballs - A common mistake we see beginners make is using the wrong type of pickleball ball. Keep in mind there are indoor and outdoor types of pickleball balls. Check out the differences below…

  • Net - as a beginner you shouldn’t have to worry about buying a net right away but thought we would provide some insight anyways. Sometimes you can bring your own net to a tennis court that has pickleball lines or you can tape off a court in your driveway. If you want a beginner net, it will cost around $120 - $170. I’d recommend a net that has an aluminum frame and comes with a carrying case for easy transport. 

  • Shoes - Since in pickleball you’ll mostly do lateral movements, a proper tennis shoe or court shoe is best as they provide the most support and are sturdy. Running shoes are not ideal, as you run the risk of rolling your ankle. 

    • Here’s what you’ll find in a court shoe:

      • Flat soles and have very little treading if any at all.

      • Sometimes have a rubber or colorless sole to reduce scuffing.

      • Have support on all sides similar to a tennis shoe.

      • But often weighs less than a tennis shoe

    • A tennis shoe is similar but typically bulkier and heavier but still durable and does the job

    • Beginner recommendation - Men’s

    • Beginner recommendation - Women’s

 

Best Places To Play As A Beginner (in Cleveland)

Here are a few places to play (indoor & outdoor) in Cleveland-Akron area where beginner’s can get introduced to the game and where there are consistent groups of players or scheduled leagues and/or lessons. For a full list of places to play check out our page HERE.

  • Indoor

    • North Ridge Racket & Paddle (West side)

      • Beginner Drills: Monday 10:30 AM to Noon; Wednesday 9 AM to 10:30AM

      • Beginner League: Sunday Noon to 2 PM

      • Friday Socials: 7pm - 11pm

    • The Wembley Club (East side)

      • Lessons & Clinics

      • Open Play (all players): Sunday: 8 AM to 11 AM (All Players), Wednesday and Thursday: 6:30 PM to 9 PM (All Players)

    • Moreland Hills Gym (East side)

      • Adult Beginner Clinic - Tuesdays from 7pm - 8pm

      • June 14th - Aug 2nd​

      • Equipment can be provided FREE of charge

      • Register HERE

    • Broadview Heights Rec Center (South side)

      • Lessons by certified instructor Rich Abston - 7/13 - 7/27, Tuesday's from 6:30PM - 8:00PM

        • Fees:  Members $50, Residents $55, Non Residents $60

      • Beginner league - Sunday from 8 AM to 10 AM. E-mail Ryan at rmeyer@bhrec.org

    • Kirtland Community Senior Center (Far East side)

      • Beginner Open Play: Thursday 1 PM-3:30 PM

      • Beginner lessons: Thursday 1-2 PM (4 classes), register at kirtlandcommunity.org

    • Ellenwood Center Gymnasium (Southeast side)

      • Beginner lessons: Thursdays from 1 PM to 2:30 PM or 2:30 PM to 4 PM. 

      • There are four sessions.  The next session you can sign up for starts July 7. 

      • The instructor is: Rich Abston who is a certified Pickleball instructor. 

      • The fee is Free to Bedford Senior Club members.  Otherwise it is $20 for non-members residents or non-residents. 

      • The link to sign up is HERE

    • Paramount Tennis Club (Medina - Far Southwest side)

      • Offers Drill and Play as follows:

        • Monday: 10 AM to 11:30 AM (Beginners)

        • Tuesday: 9:30 AM to 11 AM and 6:30 PM to 8 PM (All Players)

        • Wednesday: 11 AM to 12:30 PM (intermediate)

        • Cost is $39 for non members so it is open

      • Social - Dink and Drinks offered various Fridays on Friday evenings: $39 for non-members

    • Salem Community Center (Akron-Canton area)

      • Monday: 11 AM to Noon: Beginner/Social Hour also on the same Four Courts

  • Outdoor

    • Tri-city Park (West side)

      • Open to all players - Weekdays and weekends at 9am, some weeknights at 5:30pm (Tues & Thurs)

    • Blesser Park (West side)

      • Open to all players - generally weeknights at 6pm

    • Reese Park (West side)

    • Independence Civic Center-Elmwood Park (South side)

      • Beginners/Intermediate: Monday-Friday: 9 AM to 11 AM

        • Note that courts are for residents and guests

    • Broadview Heights Rec Center (South side)

      • Open play - Tues, Wed & Thurs from 7am - Noon, Mon & Fri from 6pm - 8pm (May through September)

      • Outdoor court located at 8938 Broadview Road

    • Cleveland Heights Denison Park (East side)

      • Open play - 9:00 A.M. and goes to approximately 11:30 A.M. Monday thru Friday. There is a designated court for beginners

      • Instruction - available volunteers help with instruction on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  

      • Anyone interested in more information about the outdoor schedule can contact Mimi Hargate: mimi.hargate@gmail.com

    • Solon Senior Center (wing inside Rec Center)

      • Open to 60 and over Resident and Non Residents Tuesday and Friday 

      • 4 outdoor courts hidden behind trees (need to look for) with only PB lines.

      • Outdoor All-Levels Rotational Play starts 5/17 at least through June Tuesday/Thursday 8:30 am – 10:30 am 

      • Pickleball Instruction on Tuesdays from 8 AM to 8:45 AM starting June 7; fee $3

    • Mentor - Civic Center Park (Far East side)

      • Beginner Clinic

      • All equipment provided, just bring yourself and be ready to learn and play.

      • Date:  Saturday, June 25th

      • Time:  2:00-3:30 pm

      • Cost: $20 per person

      • Make a reservation by e-mailing info@mentorpickleball.org.  Include name and desired date.

      • All level league - Saturdays at 12:00 noon.

        • To sign up or if questions, best to e-mail Ken at info@mentorpickleball.org.  You can also text to 440-478-6542.  Include name, e-mail address, cell phone number, and which league(s) you are interested in

 

General Rules of the Game

We’ve put together a simple overview of the basic rules of the game, which includes videos demonstrating certain aspects of the game. Check out our How to Play page.

 

Take’s only ~10 minutes to read and watch all the videos