Stay Ahead in the Pickleball Game: Essential Tips for Beginners to Keep You in Play


As a teaching professional, Ben Paquette has had the opportunity to work with many beginners in the sport of pickleball, especially as it gains popularity in the Dallas, Texas area. During a recent conversation on the Pickleball Fire podcast, Ben shared some valuable observations and tips to help individuals without a sports background who are new to pickleball.

Tip #1: Embrace Mistakes as Part of the Learning Process

In pickleball, the team that makes the fewest errors typically has the advantage. However, it’s important for beginners to understand that making mistakes is a natural part of learning the sport. Even the top-ranked men’s player in the world, Ben Johns, is not immune to errors. For instance, he lost the first game in a singles match against AJ Koller at the Pickleball Professional Associations event in Newport Beach, California.

According to Ben Paquette, one of the biggest psychological challenges for beginners is the fear of not performing well. Many individuals, particularly those with limited free time, may be hesitant to try something new if they don’t immediately excel at it. Ben emphasizes that it’s perfectly okay to hit the ball out or into the net when learning to play pickleball. Making mistakes is natural, and with time and practice, your game will improve.

Tip #2: Slow Down and Focus on Control

One of the enjoyable aspects of pickleball is the ability to hit the ball hard without the risk of causing harm, as the sport utilizes a wiffle ball. However, Ben Paquette has noticed that beginners often engage in fast-paced rallies, hitting the ball hard at each other. To enhance hand-eye coordination, he recommends slowing down the game.

Ben draws a parallel to learning how to drive a car. When you first started driving, you didn’t immediately accelerate to 60 miles per hour on the freeway. Instead, you began by driving slowly in a parking lot, focusing on control. The same principle applies to pickleball. By slowing down the pace and prioritizing ball control, you can improve your hand-eye coordination. This, in turn, allows you to hit more shots during a rally and enhance your overall game.

By understanding that mistakes are part of the learning process and embracing them as opportunities for growth, beginners can approach pickleball with a positive mindset. Slowing down the game and emphasizing control will help develop the necessary skills to become a confident and skilled player.

Remember, pickleball is a sport that can be enjoyed by individuals of all skill levels, and with dedication and persistence, you will continue to progress and excel in the game.

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Written by Billy Pickles

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  1. Well, I guess that some newbie (me) needs to start the comments – first of all, thank you so much for your article – for all of us newbie’s to understand you’re not going to walk on the court and win. Rather you have to figure out how are you going to survive this game and be happy playing it. It took me quite a long time to learn that I needed to read, watch and listen to other players before I start even thinking about winning. So far so good. I have hit the ball in China and had to buy a new net because I hit it so many times. Believe it or not, I’m still having fun. Attitude and fun are everything. A friend told me once when I was uptight to “just have fun” and forget everything else. Awesome advice and scored!!! Practice and Play a lot! Ok, it’s 105 (feels like) degrees but we are crazy for Pickleball. Thanks for the article. Cheryl, NSB Florida

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