Do you want to introduce your kids to a fun and healthy sport they can enjoy forever? If so, consider pickleball. Combined with tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, pickleball is a paddle sport. It is easy to learn, fast-paced, and suitable for all ages and skill levels.
In this article, we will show you how to teach your kids pickleball, the basic rules and skills, and the strategies to make the game more exciting. By the end of this article, you will be ready to grab your paddles and balls and hit the court with your kids.
So, let’s dive in!
How to Teach Pickleball to Your Kids?
Here are some general tips on how to teach pickleball to your kids if you want to do it:
- Begin with the fundamentals. Before they learn the rules and strategies of pickleball, ensure they know how to use the equipment and grip and swing the paddle. You can practice hitting the ball with a wall or a partner, focusing on precision, reliability, and control.
- Make it enjoyable and interesting. Pickleball is a game that everyone should have fun with, so don’t make it too hard or dull for your kids. Use praise and motivation, play music, use bright balls and paddles, and create a fun environment. You can also make it a family activity and play with your kids or other parents and kids.
- Recommend specific drills and games to help your kids develop and practice pickleball skills. Here are some examples:
Pickleball Drills for Your Kids
- Serving drill: Have your kids stand behind the baseline and try to serve the ball into the opposite service court, avoiding the no-volley zone. You can use cones or chalk to mark the target areas and give them points for hitting them. You can also challenge them to serve with different spins, speeds, or angles.
- Volleying drill: Have your kids stand on opposite sides of the net, outside the no-volley zone, and try to volley the ball back and forth without letting it bounce. You can use a softer or bigger ball to make it easier for them. You can also have them move closer or farther from the net or switch sides after a certain number of volleys.
- Dinking drill: Have your kids stand on opposite sides of the net, inside the no-volley zone, and try to dink the ball back and forth over the net. A dink is a soft shot that lands in the no-volley zone of the opponent. You can use a harder or smaller ball to make it harder for them. You can also have them move side to side or switch sides after a certain number of dinks.
- Lobbing drill: Have your kids stand on opposite sides of the net, near the baseline, and try to lob the ball over the opponent’s head and land it inbounds. A lob is a high shot that goes over the opponent’s reach. You can use a lower or higher net to make it easier or harder for them. You can also have them move forward or backward or switch sides after a certain number of lobs.
- Smashing drill: Have your kids stand on opposite sides of the net, near the no-volley zone, and try to smash the ball down at the opponent’s feet. A smash is a hard shot that comes down at a steep angle. You can use a higher or lower net to make it easier or harder for them. You can also have them move side to side or switch sides after a certain number of smashes.
- Positioning drill: Have your kids play a doubles game with you or another partner, and try to position themselves correctly on the court, depending on the situation. For example, when serving or receiving, they should stand near the baseline; when attacking or defending, they should move up to the no-volley zone; when hitting or returning a lob, they should move back to the baseline; when hitting or returning a dink, they should move up to the no-volley zone.
Safety and Precautions
Provide some safety precautions and etiquette rules that your kids should follow when playing pickleball, such as:
- Wearing proper footwear and clothing that are comfortable and suitable for the weather and surface.
- Using appropriate equipment that is in good condition and fits their size and skill level.
- Respecting the opponents and the officials by following the rules, being honest, polite, and courteous, avoiding arguments or complaints, and congratulating them after the game.
- Following the game’s rules by serving underhand from behind the baseline, allowing two bounces before volleying, staying out of the no-volley zone unless the ball bounces there first, scoring only when serving, and calling out the score before each serves.
Basic Rules and Objectives to Teach Your Kids
Pickleball’s basic rules and objectives are similar to tennis but with some differences. As a summary, here are a few highlights:
- Like a Wiffle ball, the game uses a paddle and a plastic ball with holes.
- There are singles and doubles versions of the game, but doubles are more commonly played and recommended for beginners.
- The court is 20 feet by 44 feet, divided by a net 36 inches high on the sidelines and 34 inches high in the center.
- The court has two areas, the no-volley zone and the kitchen, 7 feet from the net on each side. Players can only hit the ball in the air (volley) in this zone if the ball bounces first.
- Served crosscourt diagonally from behind the baseline, underhand, to the opposite service court. The server must hit the ball below waist level and keep at least one foot behind the baseline until contact.
- The serve must clear the net and land on the service court, avoiding the no-volley zone. The lets occur when serves hit the net but land on the service court. Except for the first service sequence of every new game, each server may only attempt one serve.
- Prior to returning the serve, the receiving team must let it bounce, and then the serving team must let it bounce before hitting it. It is called the two-bouncing rule. After that, both teams can volley the ball (hit it in the air) or let it bounce once before hitting it, as long as they are not in the no-volley zone.
- Points are scored only by the serving team when the opposing team commits a fault. It is like hitting the ball out of bounds, into the net, or in the no-volley zone on a volley.
- A team wins if it scores 11 points and leads by at least two points. A tournament or league’s rules may specify 15 or 21 points for a game.
Why Is Pickleball Good for Kids?
Pickleball is fun and easy to learn and has many benefits for kids. Here are some of them:
- It improves their physical fitness, coordination, agility, and balance. Pickleball involves a lot of movement, running, swinging, and hitting, which can help kids develop their muscles, bones, joints, and cardiovascular system.
- It fosters social skills, teamwork, sportsmanship, and confidence among kids. Pickleball is a social sport that encourages interaction, communication, cooperation, and respect among players. Kids can make new friends, learn from others, and enjoy healthy competition.
- It can be adapted to different levels of difficulty and challenge, depending on the age and ability of the kids. It is possible to play pickleball with different types of balls (soft or hard), paddles (wooden or composite), and nets (lower or higher). Kids can modify rules or play different game variations to suit their preferences and skills.
Yes, pickleball is easy for kids because it has simple rules, a small court, and a light paddle and ball. Kids can learn the basics quickly and have fun playing with others.
You can start playing pickleball at any age, but most kids can play it from around six years old. Pickleball can be adapted to different skill levels and abilities so kids can enjoy it at their own pace.
Yes, pickleball is good for kids because it improves their physical fitness, coordination, agility, and balance. It also fosters social skills, teamwork, sportsmanship, and confidence among kids. Pickleball is a fun and healthy activity for kids of all ages.
Pickleball is a great sport that can bring joy and health to your kids. By following these tips and tricks, you will know how to teach pickleball to your kids in a fun and effective way. They may become pickleball champions someday!
We hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new about pickleball. If you did, please share it with your friends and family who might be interested in pickleball too. And if you have any questions or comments about pickleball, feel free to leave them below.
We’d love to hear from you! Happy pickleballing!
I am a professional physiotherapist and the author of the BallSportsPro. I worked with athletes of all levels, from amateur to professional, and i helped them overcome injuries and improve their performance. I am a certified Pickleball instructor and has been playing the sport for over 10 years.