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Pickleball Equipment Guide: 3 Things You Need To Get Started

Pickleball Equipment Guide: 3 Things You Need To Get Started

The relatively low initial equipment investment for pickleball is certainly a factor in the rapid growth of the sport. So what exactly do you need to get started? No one wants to buy the most expensive equipment out of the gate, especially when you don’t know what you like or how much you plan to play. At a bare minimum, you need three things to get started playing pickleball: a paddle, balls and court shoes. 

1. Paddles

Pickleball paddles can be made from wood, graphite, aluminum or other composite materials, but composite is the most common.
The paddle’s combined length and width, including any edge guard and end cap, cannot exceed 24 inches total and the length cannot exceed 17 inches. Paddle weights range from 6 to 14 ounces but 8 ounces is the most popular weight. A heavier paddle will give you more drive but less control and can strain your elbow. A lighter paddle will increase ball control but you’ll have less power.
Finally, paddles come in grip sizes from 4-4.5”. A smaller grip will give you more control and powerful serves and make it easier to put spin on the ball. Larger grips will provide more stability, and be easier on your arm.

Play-PKL offers a great beginner through intermediate paddle that weighs in at 8 ounces.

2. Balls

Pickleballs are distinguished mostly by indoor vs. outdoor play. They are all made of plastic, weighing between .89 and .935 ounces and measuring 2.87-2.97” in diameter.

Indoor balls have slightly larger holes and less of them (usually 26). They are softer, lighter and a little less bouncy.

Outdoor balls have smaller holes and more of them (usually 40). They are a little harder, heavier and bouncier and they may crack when they get worn out. If you will be playing in windy conditions, look for a ball on the heavier end of the spectrum. A sign of a quality pickleball is a one-piece seamless construction.
You may find that many indoor facilities use both types of balls (because the surface is the same as outdoor courts), but you would not want to use indoor balls when playing outdoors. If you’re not sure whether your balls are indoor or outdoor, count the holes!

Play-PKL offers a 3-pack of outdoor balls on the heavier end of the spectrum, which are particularly great for windy days. Or, try our Pickleball Starter Pack, which includes two paddles and a pack of balls.

3. Court Shoes

Foot and ankle injuries can be prevented by simply wearing the right type of shoe for the activity and surface (a court shoe). We strongly recommend you avoid wearing running or cross-training shoes to play pickleball. Running shoes are made to run in a straight line in one direction and will not support the stop-and-go, side-to-side movement required in pickleball. Court shoes focus on lateral support and stability. Wearing a running shoe to play court sports can also result in ankle rolls and injuries to the plantar fascia.

Once you’ve got your basic equipment and have reviewed our explanation of How To Play, you’re ready to head out to your local courts and get started!

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