Avoiding Common Pickleball Beginner Mistakes

Avoiding Common Pickleball Beginner Mistakes

Avoiding Common Pickleball Beginner Mistakes

Pickleball is a fun and engaging sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. However, beginners often make some common mistakes that can hinder their progress and enjoyment of the game. In this article, we’ll discuss some of these mistakes and provide tips on how to avoid them.

Rushing the Learning Process

Eager to join the action with your paddle-wielding peers on the court? It’s tempting to want to skip the lessons and learn “on the job” through game play. However, taking this approach often leads to sloppy form, confusion, and developing bad habits right out of the gate. Here are some tips:

  • Start by reading/watching online beginner tutorials so you understand basic rules, scoring, terminology, etc.
  • Invest in 2-3 lessons with a certified coach to properly learn grip, groundstrokes, volleys, serves, and court positioning.
  • Spend your initial sessions focusing just on technique rather than playing full games.

Building a solid foundation first makes absorbing more advanced skills much smoother later. Think tortoise vs hare here. Slow and steady wins the race.

Poor Paddle Grip

One of the most crucial yet overlooked fundamentals in pickleball is how you hold the paddle. Gripping too tight, too loose, or in the wrong spot gives you less control. 

Common problems:

  • Strangling the handle – Keep a firm but relaxed grip to allow wrist movement
  • Grip too far down – Hold closer to the blade for quicker reaction time
  • Using the wrong grip style – Most use continental grip but western/eastern work too

Take time to intentionally practice paddle grip to find what works best for producing different shots with precision. Having this dialed in makes all other aspects of your game dramatically better.

Ignoring Your Third Shot

You’ve smashed a strong serve, crushed the return, and are feeling pumped. Now what? Many novices forget about the importance of the third shot – failing to get it in play often loses games. Instead of going for winners right away or lobbing lazy high balls, take a more tactical approach. After the serve return look to:

  • Hit controlled, angled shots deep in the court to move opponent back
  • Vary spin, height and placement to disrupt their rhythm
  • Focus on keeping the ball low and reducing their options

Patience and strategy on the third shot sets you up to take command of the point. Don’t give them anything easy to put away before you build the point first!

Failing to Set Your Feet Properly Before Shots

As a beginner, it’s tempting to start flailing your paddle at balls without thought to footwork and body positioning. However, not setting your feet and having a poor ready position will undermine your shot consistency and accuracy.

Some common footwork mistakes beginners make:

  • Flat-footed hitting – Swinging without proper knee bend and weight transfer
  • Over-running balls – Landing too close to the non-hitting side when moving laterally
  • Crossing over on turns – Turning the wrong foot first which slows momentum
  • Poor split step – Not hopping lightly on toes in ready position to react quicker

Solution: Master foundational footwork patterns first

Here are some tips:

  • Set your feet with a shoulder-width stance before stroke and load weight onto back foot
  • Push front foot in direction of the ball; drive with back foot and hips through the shot
  • Focus on controlled lateral shuffle steps to efficiently cover the court
  • Time the split step bounce on balls of feet to explode better in either direction

Really hone in on proper footwork technique in your early sessions without worrying about power or shots. Having a balanced and athletic base enables much better execution on all your strokes. Make footwork fundamentals second nature from the get-go and your game will rapidly advance.

Using the Wrong Paddle, Shoes, or Clothes

Beyond technique errors, many beginners also undermine their potential by showing up with the wrong gear. Don’t let inadequate equipment or clothing sabotage your play.

Common Equipment Pitfalls

  • Heavy, grip-less wooden paddles offer less control
  • Standard court shoes lack needed traction and support
  • Plastic balls not designed for pickleball can behave differently

Clothing Concerns

  • Tight, restrictive outfits inhibit free movement
  • Dark colors absorb more heat leaving you exhausted
  • Jewelry slides down arms affecting paddle grip/feel


  • Invest in an entry-level or mid-range composite paddle properly sized for your hand
  • Opt for dedicated pickleball shoes with cushioning and lateral support
  • Play with regulation balls with signature holes for ideal bounce
  • Wear athletic clothing in breathable, wicking fabrics
  • Remove bulky jewelry and ties/scarves that can swing and distract

Having the proper gear and apparel removes variables making it easier to focus on skill development during play. Save your fashion statements for post-tournament parties. On the courts, performance and safety come first!

There are certainly more mistakes that can plague beginners, but avoiding just these three will help fast track your progress and enjoyment playing this fantastic sport. See you on the pickleball courts!

About Ambika Taylor

Myself Ambika Taylor. I am admin of https://hammburg.com/. For any business query, you can contact me at [email protected]