Getting Started Resources

Upstate Pickleball Clinics wants you to enjoy all the benefits of playing Pickleball. The following will help you learn about the game from its origins in 1965 to basic game play to learning how to keep score to buying your first pickleball paddle.

Pickleball Explained

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America. The game combines elements of tennis, ping-pong and badminton. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. The video below is a good introduction to the game.

Pickleball History

Pickleball was created in 1965 on Bainbridge Island (just outside of Seattle, WA) by three families who must’ve been bored one weekend summer. They used an existing badminton court, scrounged up some paddles, found a plastic ball with holes and went to work creating this quirky game called Pickleball. Learn how it all began…

Pickleball Rules Summary

The ball is served diagonally to the opponent’s service court underhanded. Points are scored by the serving side only and occur when the opponent faults (fails to return the ball, hits ball out of bounds, etc.). The server continues to serve, alternating service courts, until the serving side faults. The first side scoring 11 points and leading by at least a 2-point margin wins. If both sides are tied, then play continues until one side wins by 2 points.

There are a few quirky rules to be aware of:

  • Double Bounce Rule: Following the serve, each side must make at least one ground-stroke, prior to volleying the ball (hitting it before it has bounced).
  • Non-Volley Zone: A player cannot volley a ball while standing within the non-volley zone.

Download a basic Rules Summary Sheet

Download the 2024 Official Rules (88 pages)

How to Keep Score

For new players, keeping score isn’t easy. Watch this helpful video and play a few games with someone who knows how to keep score and it’ll become easy to keep score.

Buying a Pickleball Paddle

Choosing a paddle has become increasingly complicated. There are so many shapes, sizes, materials, brands and innovative technology that it’s confusing for both beginner and advanced players. Below is some basic guidance for buying a Pickleball paddle.

Pickleball paddles have a core construction and an applied surface material. Most paddles manufactured today have a honeycomb polypropylene plastic core construction. Paddle surface materials are usually made from Fiberglass, Graphite and Carbon Fiber.

Higher-quality paddles with the newest technology use a Raw Carbon surface material that produces greater control and spin.

Lighter-weight paddles (under 8.0 oz) are easier to swing and give you more control. Heavier paddles (8.0+ oz) will give you more power on your shots.

Expect to spend between $70 and $120 for a nice paddle. Paddles with the latest technology will cost between $150 and $225+.

The following paddles are excellent buys because of their superior performance and affordable price. ( Email John for coupon codes to make these paddles more affordable.)

Buying Pickleball Balls

There are two types of pickleball balls: Outdoor and Indoor.

Outdoor balls are meant to be played on gritty court surfaces that are typical with outdoor pickleball and tennis courts. (Some indoor pickleball facilities have gritty court surfaces.) Outdoor balls are made from a harder plastic and have 40 small holes.

Most Upstate Pballers prefer the Franklin X-40 outdoor balls. Advanced players prefer to play with faster outdoor balls (Dura Fast 40, Selkirk Pro S1 or Core.)

Indoor balls are meant to be played on gym court surfaces where basketball is played. Indoor balls are made from a softer plastic and have 26 holes. The most preferred indoor ball with Upstate Pballers is the Onix Fuse.

Playing Strategy Resources

There are endless online resources for helping you gain new skills and knowledge to make you a smarter and better Pickleball player. One place to start is to visit the Learning to Play section of the USA Pickleball website. Another place to learn is to read the long-available  Pickleball Strategy Guide (.pdf) from Richard Movsessian (“Coach Mo”).

One of the best ways to improve your game is to watch instructional videos on YouTube. There are lots of them. (Probably too many of them.) Below are quality videos that address important areas to improve your Pickleball game.