16 Mistakes Every Pickleball Beginner Makes (And How to Fix Them)

Pickleball is a fun and easy-to-learn sport that is gaining popularity all over the world. But like any new sport, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can slow down your progress and limit your enjoyment of the game. Here are 16 common pickleball mistakes that beginners should avoid:

Pickleball Beginner mistakes

Not Wearing Proper Clothing

Pickleball requires a certain type of clothing to ensure optimal comfort and performance. Wearing items like loose-fitting clothes or shoes without good traction can make it harder to move around the court and can increase your risk of injury.

Holding the Paddle Incorrectly

Holding the paddle incorrectly is one of the most common mistakes beginners make when playing pickleball. The correct way to hold the paddle is to place your hand on the handle with your fingers wrapped around the grip, and your thumb resting on the flat part of the paddle face.

Avoid holding the paddle too tightly, as this can limit your wrist movement and cause fatigue.

Standing Too Close to the Net

Standing too close to the net is another common mistake made by beginners. The ideal position is approximately 3 to 4 feet behind the non-volley line (also known as the kitchen line).

Standing too close to the net can leave you vulnerable to smashes and reduce your reaction time.

Forgetting to Keep Your Eye on the Ball

It’s easy to get distracted by the movement of your opponents or the sound of the ball hitting the paddle, but it’s important to keep your eye on the ball at all times.

By keeping your eye on the ball, you’ll be able to anticipate where it’s going and react quickly.

Not Using the Correct Footwork

Pickleball requires quick and precise footwork, so it’s important to use the correct footwork when playing. One common mistake beginners make is not moving their feet enough, which can result in missed shots and poor positioning.

Rushing to the Net

Rushing to the net can be tempting, but it’s important to resist the urge and wait for the right opportunity to move forward.

Rushing to the net too early can leave you vulnerable to passing shots and smashes, so it’s important to be patient and wait for the right moment.

Failing to Communicate with Your Partner

Pickleball is a doubles sport, so communication with your partner is key. Failing to communicate can result in missed shots, confusion, and frustration.

Make sure to communicate with your partner before and during the game, and discuss strategies and signals to use during play.

Trying to Hit the Ball Too Hard

Hitting the ball too hard is another common mistake made by beginners. While it may seem like hitting the ball as hard as possible is the best strategy, it can result in missed shots and poor placement. Instead, focus on hitting the ball with precision and control.

Not Practicing Enough

Pickleball is a sport that requires practice to improve. Not practicing enough can limit your progress and limit your enjoyment of the game.

Make sure to practice regularly, either on your own or with a partner, to improve your skills and confidence.

Not Adjusting to the Opponent’s Play Style

One mistake that beginners often make is failing to adjust their play style to their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to observe your opponent’s play style and adjust your shots and strategies accordingly.

For example, if your opponent has a strong backhand, you may want to focus your shots on their forehand to exploit their weaker side.

Failing to Master the Third Shot Drop

The third shot drop is a crucial shot in pickleball that is used to regain control of the game and set up for a winning shot. Beginners often struggle with the third shot drop, either by hitting it too hard or too short.

It’s important to master this shot by practicing it regularly and learning the correct technique.

Using the Wrong Shot Selection

Pickleball offers a variety of shots, including drives, lobs, dinks, and drops. Beginners often make the mistake of using the wrong shot selection, either by choosing a shot that is too difficult or by using the same shot repeatedly.

It’s important to learn the different shots and when to use them based on the situation.

Being Too Predictable

Another common mistake made by beginners is being too predictable in their play. This can make it easier for the opponent to anticipate their shots and gain an advantage. It’s important to mix up your shots and strategies to keep the opponent guessing and on their toes.

Not Knowing When to Stay Back or Move Forward

Pickleball requires players to constantly adjust their position on the court, either by moving forward to the net or staying back near the baseline.

Beginners often struggle with this aspect of the game, either by staying back too much or rushing to the net too soon. It’s important to know when to stay back and when to move forward based on the situation.

Failing to Anticipate the Ball’s Bounce

The bounce of the ball is a crucial aspect of pickleball, and beginners often struggle with anticipating its trajectory. It’s important to practice tracking the ball’s bounce and predicting where it will go based on the angle of the paddle and the spin of the ball.

Not Warming Up Properly

Pickleball requires a lot of movement and can be physically demanding, so it’s important to warm up properly before playing pickleball. Beginners often skip this step, which can lead to injury and fatigue. Make sure to warm up with stretching and light cardio exercises to prepare your body for the game.

By avoiding these common pickleball beginner mistakes, you’ll be able to improve your pickleball skills and enjoy the game to the fullest. Keep practicing, stay patient, and have fun!