The sport of pickleball is growing in popularity worldwide for many reasons. But what about the children? How do you teach a child to play pickleball?
With such substantial growth rates and interest of kids in the game, it is vital to get the basics right when teaching kids how to play the game. You do not necessarily need to hire a professional coach or let your child give up on sports forever.
A good starting point is to assess the child's natural abilities and level of coordination. Once evaluated, start with the fundamentals and ensure they are having fun while doing so. If you can overcome this common roadblock, you will help them be more confident.
We have distilled the complexities of pickleball into this informative guide for any parent wanting to get their child started with pickleball. Head on over to read about how to teach a child to play the best game in the known world.
As pickleball enthusiasts, we sifted through the internet to find the best and easiest ways to teach a child to play pickleball and have put them on a helpful list for you.
Find a Pickleball Court Near You
A great place to start is by finding a pickleball court near you. These courts are usually located at parks and community centers. If no one is nearby, consider renting out space at a local gym or community center. It is also possible that a friend has access to a court they can allow you to use.
Do Not Overcomplicate the Game
Pickleball is not complicated, but it can be complex for first-time players. You do not want to make it more complex than it already is. Keep your explanations short and simple.
Use colorful words or phrases such as "bump" or "spin" instead of "hit" or "strike" when teaching kids how to play pickleball. You can also use different colors to help kids remember what they need to do on the court. For example, green means that they should hit the ball toward their partner, while red means hitting the ball toward the other team's side of the court.
Get Started with the Basics
Pickleball is played with an overhand stroke rather than a game of underhand stroke-like tennis or badminton. There are no rules about how high or low you must hit the ball, but there are rules about where you must hit it: You can only shoot from behind your backline or service line. The server gets two serves before giving up their turn at serving; if they do not get two serves in a row, their opponent gets two serves instead.
Explain How to Hold the Paddle
The next thing to teach them is how to hold the paddle properly. A beginner will want to keep their wrist straight, and fingers close together when gripping their paddle. This will allow them to create more power without worrying about dropping the paddle or injuring themselves with a bad grip.
Once they have gotten used to holding the paddle correctly, it is time for them to learn how to serve. The key here is practice, practice, and more practice!
Teach Them How to Serve
One of the essential skills for young pickleball players is learning to serve. They must learn how to serve consistently because it allows them to learn about positioning and hitting strategy during rallies.
Teach your child how to serve by having them stand on the serving line, which is the dotted line running parallel to the net. Have them hold their paddle vertically in front of their body with both hands behind their back. Then have them toss the ball straight up into the air and hit it overhand toward their opponent's side of the court. This exercise gives your child practice hitting overhand serves without fear of missing or shooting out of bounds which are just as common mistakes made by beginner pickleball players.
Many kids stand with their feet too close together when they play, making it harder for them to move around the court quickly. Help your child stand with her feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward, and knees bent slightly — like how you would stand if you were about to run or jump.
Explain Scoring in Pickleball
The goal of pickleball is to score points by hitting the ball over the net, into the opponent's court and then returning it so that it lands in your opponent's court within the boundaries drawn by their side of the net.
Points are scored when:
- You hit your opponent's ball out of bounds.
- You hit your ball out of bounds.
- Your opponent hits your ball out of bounds after hitting it into theirs.
- Your opponent hits your ball back over their side of the net before it bounces once in their court but not if they reach over and knock it back.
The first team to reach 11 points wins a game-best of three games wins the match.
Get the Right Pickleball Equipment
If you are thinking about teaching your children how to play pickleball, you must find the right equipment. Although many modern paddles and balls are designed with kids in mind, it is still a good idea to check them out before purchasing.
For example, the best pickleball paddles for kids have a lighter frame than those geared toward adults. This makes it easier for smaller hands to maneuver them and ensures they would not get tired too quickly during playtime.
Additionally, the best pickleball paddles for kids come with softer rubbers than those made for adults. This allows children to contact the ball without slamming their fingers into it and causing injury or worse.
When choosing a ball for your child, look for one manufactured specifically for their age group - this will ensure that it is durable enough to withstand their rough handling but not so hard that it might cause damage if they accidentally kick or throw it into something during playtime.
About THE AUTHOR
It is a privilege to have been able to play pickleball multiple times a week for the last several years. I’ve played thousands of pickleball matches, and taken just about every lesson that is available. I love mentoring others wherever they are in their pickleball journey.Read More About Nancy Stevens