What Do You Need To Play Pickleball: Essential Gear for New Players (2024)

what do you need to play pickleball

If you’ve come across this post, chances are you’re thinking about playing pickleball. You’ve probably heard all your friends talking about it. Perhaps they have even asked you to play?

And with that, you might be wondering “What do you need to play pickleball?“.

So, where should you begin if you want to get out and play and join in all the fun?

What equipment is necessary?

As someone who has been an enthusiastic player myself, I had the same questions when starting out.

So I did a bunch of research.

And then I got so into my research that I started a blog! And now we have our own Pickleball Company Hoops Pickleball!

In this blog post, I’ll provide you with all the essential information what you need to get started on your pickleball journey.

Let’s get started!

What Do I Need To Play Pickleball?

a picture with a bunch of pickleball gear

To get started with this exciting sport, you’ll need some essential gear:

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, having the right equipment is a key component for improving your pickleball skills and enjoying the game.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the important aspects of pickleball gear and help you discover the perfect equipment that fits your needs.

Pickleball Paddles

joola ben johns perseus

Obviously, we need a paddle. Pickleball Paddles are available in a variety of materials, including wooden paddles, graphite, carbon fiber, and fiberglass.

When choosing a paddle, it’s important to consider factors such as face size, textured surface, durability, sturdiness, weight, a large sweet spot, good control, and a comfortable grip. The right paddle can make a big difference, giving you more power and control over your shots.

Popular pickleball paddle brands include:

Every brand has its own unique features and benefits. That’s why it’s important to try out different options and find the one that best matches your playing style and skill level. Buying used pickleball paddles can be a great way to try paddles without all the upfront costs. Remember, investing in a high-quality paddle can greatly enhance your pickleball game and overall experience.

Pickleball Balls

colorful pickleballs

Even though they look like wiffle balls, Pickleball balls are specially designed for the sport, with different types for indoor and outdoor play.

Here are some key differences between indoor and outdoor balls:

  • Indoor balls have larger holes and fewer of them (26)
  • Outdoor balls have smaller holes and more of them (40)
  • Outdoor balls are also heavier and tougher, making them more durable for outdoor play.

When choosing pickleball balls, consider brands such as:

  • Franklin
  • Wilson
  • Onix
  • Joola

These brands offer long-lasting, reliable options. The Franklin X-40 Pickleballs are a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor play, providing a consistent bounce and flight for an enjoyable game experience.

Proper Footwear

Skechers Viper Court Pro
Skechers Viper Court Pro

Having the right shoes is important for playing pickleball. Court-friendly shoes provide the support and grip you need when playing pickleball. Wearing proper footwear can enhance your performance, prevent injuries, and keep you comfortable throughout the game.

Popular pickleball shoe brands include:

When choosing pickleball shoes, look for features such as good traction, stability, cushioning, and breathability. These will help you stay agile on the court and prevent slips and falls. And remember, as my favorite band Phish says, “whatever you do, take care of your shoes!”.

Backpack for Your Gear

Hoopis Pickleball Backpack
Hoopis Pickleball Backpack

Having a dedicated pickleball backpack can make it easier to transport all this cool gear we now have. Plus, you want to look the part too right?

A pickleball backpack is a must-have for any player, making it easy to transport your gear to and from the court. These backpacks typically feature compartments and pockets designed specifically for:

  • Paddles
  • Balls
  • Water bottles
  • Other essential items

Some excellent pickleball backpack options include the Hoopis Pickleball Backpack or the Vulvan VPro. The Hoopis Pickleball backpack can comfortably fit four paddles, lots of balls, has a protected compartment for your sunglasses, a USB port for charging your phone, and even has a dedicated ventilated spot for shoes, making it the top choice for pickleball enthusiasts.

A Court To Play On

outdoor pickleball courts at local park

Now that you have your basic gear ready, it’s time to find some pickleball courts. This, however, has become more a challenge with the popularity of pickleball on the rise.

Fortunately, you can easily set up a pickleball court in a lot of different spaces. Whether it’s a temporary court in your driveway or a permanent one in your backyard, having a court to play on is certainly a plus!

In this section, we’ll provide advice and tips on how to set up both temporary and permanent pickleball courts, including information on boundary markers and court dimensions.

Temporary Court Setup

picklenet deluxe
Portable Pickleball Net

A temporary court setup is perfect for those who don’t have access to a permanent court or want to play pickleball on various surfaces. It is also a great solution to the challenge of finding available courts and court time now! You can easily create a temporary court on a tennis court, basketball court, driveway or any other flat surface using tape, chalk, or other removable markers.

To set up your temporary court, you’ll need:

  • A measuring tape to get the dimensions right
  • A portable pickleball net
  • Pickleball court should be 20 feet wide and 44 feet long, with a net height of 34 inches in the center

Permanent Court Setup

indoor pickleball courts

A permanent pickleball court setup is a fantastic option if you have a dedicated space and money to do it. You can literally create a pickleball court in your backyard and we are starting to see this more and more. This kind of court can be set up in your backyard or any other outdoor space. The process is more involved than setting up a temporary court, and it may require professional assistance to get it right.

To set up a permanent court, you will need:

  • A dedicated, level area measuring at least 20 feet wide and 44 feet long
  • A permanent pickleball net system, with a net height of 34 inches in the center and 36 inches on the sides (pickleball nets are different than tennis court nets)
  • High-quality paint or court surface tape to draw the lines and create a non-slip surface for play
  • A proper drainage system to prevent water buildup on the court surface
  • Optional accessories such as lighting, fencing, and seating for a more professional setup.

There are also companies that specialize in building permanent pickleball courts if you prefer to have it done professionally. These courts can add value to your property and provide a convenient, always-available option for pickleball play.

Remember to consult with a professional or your local city’s building code office before beginning construction to make sure you comply with all regulations. This will ensure safety and longevity for your permanent pickleball court. Always remember, investing in a permanent setup will not only enhance your game experience but also add value to your property!

Pickleball Accessories: Enhance Your Game Experience

Apart from the fundamental gear, there are now a ton of pickleball accessories available on the market including protective gear, bags, and clothing. These add-ons can help your pickleball game, offer increased comfort and protection, and assist in organizing your gear.

Protective Gear

Bea Cool Sunglasses

Wearing protective gear while playing pickleball can help prevent injuries and enhance your overall game experience. Sunglasses, for example, protect your eyes from flying balls and debris. Gloves can prevent blisters and grip fatigue that may result from sweaty hands during play.

Other protective gear options include wristbands, elbow pads, and knee pads, which provide additional support and protection during intense games. Investing in quality protective gear can make a significant difference in your comfort and safety on the court.

Clothing and Apparel

Hoopis Pickleball Polo Shirt

Wearing comfortable and functional clothing while playing pickleball can significantly impact your performance and enjoyment of the game. Some options to consider include:

These items are available in various styles and materials to suit your preferences and playing conditions.

Popular brands for pickleball clothing include Joola, Lululemon, Lucky in Love, and Alo.

Each of these companies offer a wide range of options to keep you looking stylish and feeling comfortable on the court. Additionally, consider incorporating moisture-wicking shirts, hats, and headbands to help keep you cool and dry during intense games.

Improving Your Pickleball Skills: Training Equipment and Tips

For improving your pickleball skills and pickleball strategy, think about investing in training equipment and integrating drills and exercises into your practice routine.

Pickleball Machines

Spinshot Pickleball Ball Machine

Pickleball machines are an excellent tool for practice and training, allowing you to improve your skills without the need for another player. These machines are capable of launching balls at various speeds and trajectories, simulating the unpredictability of a real game and providing you with an opportunity to enhance your drives, dinks, footwork, and reaction time.

The versatility of a pickleball machine is what makes it stand out as an effective training aid. You can adjust the speed, frequency, and spin of the shots to challenge your skills and push your limits. This makes it a perfect training tool for both beginners, who can start with slower, predictable shots, and advanced players, who can test their skills against high speed and topspin shots.

Downside? They are not cheap. Some can cost upwards of $2,000.

Some of the popular brands offering high-quality pickleball machines include Lobster, Tutor, Erne Pickleball Machine and OnCourt OffCourt. These machines can be easily transported and set up, allowing you to practice whenever and wherever you want. By integrating a pickleball machine into your training routine, you can take control of your practice sessions and accelerate your progress in the game.

Drills and Exercises

Incorporating drills and exercises into your pickleball practice can help boost your balance, stability, agility, strength, endurance, and range of motion. Squats, lunges, interval training, cycling/spinning, split squats, core exercises like planks, upper body exercises, and even yoga, Pilates, or tai chi moves can all benefit your pickleball performance.

Easily add drills and exercises to your pickleball practice by setting aside some time before or after your sessions or including them in your warm-up and cool-down routines. Regular practice combined with targeted exercises will help you develop and refine your pickleball skills, leading to more enjoyable and competitive gameplay.

Building a Pickleball Community: Finding Local Players and Groups

Making connections with other pickleball enthusiasts is one of the main reasons for pickleball being the fastest growing sport. The social aspect and community are just great!

By discovering local players, clubs, and events, you can widen your social circle, gain knowledge from seasoned players, and engage in both competitive and recreational games.

In this section, we’ll provide tips for finding and connecting with local pickleball communities.

Local Clubs and Organizations

Local pickleball clubs and organizations offer a fantastic opportunity to meet other players, participate in group activities, and improve your skills. To find nearby clubs, check out the USA Pickleball website for a directory of pickleball clubs in the US and Canada, Facebook, and the USA Pickleball Club Directory. Local gyms and fitness centers may also have pickleball clubs or offer pickleball-related activities.

Joining a local pickleball community offers several benefits:

  • Enhancing your game through access to resources and support from more experienced players
  • Staying in the loop with the sport through club events
  • Making new friends who share your passion for pickleball
  • Contributing to the growth of pickleball in your area

By joining a local pickleball community, you can enhance your skills and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow pickleball players.

Tournaments and Events

Participating in pickleball tournaments and events is a great way to challenge yourself, showcase your skills, and meet fellow players in a competitive setting. Most of these tournaments match you up with players of similar skill level according to each players DUPR Rating.

To find local tournaments and events, search online at Pickleballtournaments.com, ask your local pickleball club, or check with your local parks and recreation department.

If you’re interested in organizing your own pickleball event, start by:

  • Planning the date, location, format, and rules for the competition
  • Finding volunteers to help run the event
  • Securing sponsorships or donations to cover costs

Participating in and organizing pickleball events can be a rewarding experience that helps strengthen your local pickleball community.


In conclusion, pickleball is an exciting and fast-growing sport that offers enjoyment for players of all ages and skill levels. With the right gear, equipment, training aids, and community support, you can enhance your gameplay experience and make the most of this engaging racquet sport. So, gather your paddles, balls, and enthusiasm, and step onto the pickleball court for a thrilling and rewarding experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some popular pickleball paddle brands?

Popular pickleball paddle brands include Joola, Selkirk, Engage, Diadem, Oneshot, Paddletek and ONIX.

What types of training aids can help improve my pickleball skills?

Tools like the rebounder net, Backswing Solution, Angle Doctor and Arm Pocket Developer can help you take your pickleball skills to the next level. Practicing with your own net can also be advantageous.

Is pickleball a good sport for all ages?

Yes, pickleball is a great sport for all ages. It can be enjoyed by children, adults, and seniors alike. The game is easy to learn and low-impact, making it accessible for people of all fitness levels.

How can I find local pickleball communities and events?

You can find local pickleball communities and events by checking out online directories, joining social media groups, or reaching out to your local parks and recreation department. Joining a local pickleball club is also an excellent way to connect with other players and participate in group activities. Additionally, participating in tournaments and organizing events can help strengthen your local community.

What are some drills that can benefit my pickleball performance?

Incorporating exercises like squats, lunges, interval training, cycling/spinning, split squats, core exercises, upper body exercises, and even yoga, Pilates, or tai chi moves can all benefit your pickleball performance. These drills help improve balance, stability, agility, strength, endurance, and range of motion. You can easily add these drills to your practice routine before or after sessions or include them in your warm-up and cool-down routines. Regular practice combined with targeted exercises will lead to noticeable improvements in your pickleball skills. So, don’t hesitate to incorporate these drills into your training routine for a better gameplay experience! Remember, practice makes perfect. Happy Pickling!

What are the benefits of joining a local pickleball community?

Joining a local pickleball community offers several benefits:

  • Enhancing your game through access to resources and support from more experienced players
  • Staying in the loop with the sport through club events
  • Making new friends who share your passion for pickleball
  • Contributing to the growth of pickleball in your area. So, don’t hesitate to join a local pickleball community near you for an enhanced gameplay experience and more fun on the court! Happy Pickling! #pickleball #sport #community #tips #drills #FAQs

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