Pickleball, a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, has gained immense popularity among people of all ages. Its simple rules, compact court size, and slower pace make it an ideal game for kids to enjoy and stay active. Whether your child is new to pickleball or looking to improve their skills, here are some tips and advice to help them get involved in America's fastest-growing sport!
Learn the Basics
The first step for kids to get started with pickleball is to learn the basics of the game. Familiarize them with the rules, scoring system, and where to stand on the court.
Explain how the game is played and encourage them to watch pickleball matches or tutorials online. Having three kids play with one adult who knows the rules and can lead the game can really help kids learn quickly. Understanding the fundamentals will make it easier for kids to grasp the game and participate confidently with players of all ages.
Find the Right Equipment
Having the right equipment is essential to enjoy playing pickleball. Kids can use Big Dill Pickleball Co. paddles, which feature fun designs plus a high-quality build. You don't need pickleball paddles designed for children unless the kids are toddlers. A regulation-size pickleball paddle is perfect for any player and will fit well in a child's hand.
It's also important to wear proper athletic shoes to play. No one should play in sandals or barefoot. Wearing court shoes, or at least closed-toe cross-trainers will provide comfort, stability, and prevent injuries on the court.
Start with Mini Games
To help kids develop their skills and enjoy the game, begin with mini-games or modified versions of pickleball. Start with simple drills, such as rallying the ball back and forth over the net and counting how many in a row you can get.
Set up a target for kids to hit and practice serves over and over. This will make it fun to learn the basics. Gradually introduce them to the official game rules and regulations as they gain confidence and proficiency.
Enroll in Pickleball Camps/Programs for Kids
Consider enrolling your child in pickleball youth programs or classes. Many community centers, sports clubs, and schools offer pickleball lessons specifically tailored for kids; pickleball camps can also provide a great option for kids to learn during the summer.
These programs provide structured training, guidance from experienced coaches, and opportunities to play with peers of similar skill levels. Participating in organized classes will help children enhance their skills, learn strategies, and build their confidence on the court. Plus, it can introduce them to kids their own age who also play and boost confidence further.
Play with Family and Friends
Encourage kids to play pickleball with their family and friends. Organize friendly matches at home or visit local parks and community centers that have pickleball courts. Playing with others not only makes the game more enjoyable but also allows children to practice their skills in a supportive and social environment. Family and friends can provide valuable feedback and motivate kids to improve their game.
Watch and Learn from Pickleball Pros
Watching professional pickleball players can be a great source of inspiration and learning for kids. Online platforms, such as YouTube, often have videos of professional pickleball matches, tutorials, and tips from experts. Encourage your child to observe the techniques, footwork, and strategies used by the pros. They can then try out these techniques during their own practice sessions.
Participate in Tournaments and Events
As your child becomes more skilled and confident, consider participating in local pickleball tournaments or events. These competitions offer valuable opportunities to test their abilities, meet other young players, and experience the thrill of competitive play. Even if they don't win, the experience will enhance their sportsmanship, resilience, and determination.
Have Fun and Stay Active
Above all, remind kids that pickleball is about having fun and staying active. Emphasize the importance of sportsmanship, teamwork, and enjoying the game rather than solely focusing on winning. Encourage them to play pickleball regularly as a means to stay fit, improve hand-eye coordination, make friends, and develop their overall physical fitness.
--By Eric Zhuo