Beginner Pickleball Mistakes

Beginner Mistakes You Need To Avoid

As beginner pickleball players, it’s inevitable that you will make mistakes.  Let’s go over some of the beginner mistakes that could be keeping you from leveling up.

Not moving up to the kitchen

This is a common beginner mistake especially if you are coming from another racquet sport where the strategy is to remain near the baseline.  Some people also feel that staying near the baseline will give them more time to react to incoming balls.  However, pickleball is most often won by the team that spends the most time at the kitchen line so getting there is a must.

Running to the kitchen too soon

That said, you have to take the previous advice with a grain of salt.  Getting to the kitchen area as fast as you can is most applicable if you are on the receiving team.  If you are on the serving team, it is best to wait after the third shot before moving up to the kitchen line.  This is because of the double-bounce rule.  If you try to move up to the kitchen as soon as the ball is returned you might not be in a good position to let the ball bounce and return the shot.

Poor footwork

So, the serving team is at a disadvantage having to fight their way from the baseline to the kitchen line.  There’s a tendency for a lot of beginners to try and hit the ball while they are still running.  Most of the time, shots made this way lack control and result in a fault.  This is where knowing the right footwork comes in–specifically, the split-step.  With the split-step as soon as you see the other team return the ball, you stop running, split-step into a ready stance and then hit the ball.  This will help you control your shot better which results in fewer faults.

Waiting for the ball to bounce before going into the kitchen

There is nothing in the pickleball rule book that says when you can go in and out of the kitchen.  In fact, you can stay all the time in the kitchen–but that’s not a great move strategy wise.  At the same time, hanging behind the kitchen line and waiting until the ball had bounced might not give you enough time to get into position to return the ball.  You can go into the kitchen as soon as you know that the ball is going in there and get into position.

Underestimating the power of the “soft” game

Don’t be impatient and start attacking every ball that comes to you.  Slow shots give you more time to get ready for the next shot.  Be patient and let the other team make the mistakes.

Doing too much too soon

Some beginner players are tempted to do more advanced techniques like putting spins on the ball or aiming for kill shots at the sidelines.  These shots are harder to control and more often than not lead to faults.  It’s best to get the fundamentals down and be consistent with your shots first.  It’s true that as you advance in the game you’ll also outgrow the strategies that worked for you as a beginner.  But until then work on being consistent first.

It’s important to remember that pickleball is a game of strategy and patience. As a beginner, you may be tempted to try more advanced techniques or make risky moves too soon, but it’s best to focus on the fundamentals first and work your way up from there. Mastering the split-step technique, not waiting until the ball has bounced before entering the kitchen, understanding how power shots can backfire if used incorrectly—all these are key components of becoming an effective pickleball player. With practice and dedication, you can avoid these beginner mistakes and will surely find success in this exciting sport!

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