What Equipment Do You Need To Play – A Complete Guide

Pickleball is a popular paddle sport that borrows different parts of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, making it a simple yet fun game. It’s a game that can be played by people of all ages and skill levels and can be played inside, outside, and on different surfaces. Before you can start to play pickleball, you’ll need a few things. Essential pickleball equipment for beginners includes pickleball paddles, a pickleball ball, and other accompanying materials.

Pickleball is a fun and rewarding sport that people of all skill levels can play if they have the right equipment and are willing to learn and practice. No time is better than now to try pickleball, whether you are an experienced athlete or just starting out. In this article, we will cover the basic equipment needed for pickleball to be played in 2023. Let’s get started.

pickleball equipment
pickleball equipment

What Do You Need To Get Started With Pickleball?

Did you know that Pickleball’s popularity has grown over 20 percent in the United States alone in recent years? This is because literally, anyone can play it. There aren’t many complicated or expensive pieces of equipment involved, nor will it break the bank to get started. We have discussed what equipment is needed for pickleball, down below. 

1. Pickleball Balls

The pickleball ball resembles the shape and size of a Wiffle ball. The ball is made of lightweight, perforated plastic and is 2.87 inches (7.3 cm) in diameter. The perforations (holes) on the ball slow it down and make it easier to control, which is vital in pickleball. There are different colors of pickleball balls. The most common color is yellow, but you can also get white, orange, and green balls. The choice of ball color may depend on the playing environment and lighting conditions.

The ball used in pickleball can vary depending on the playing setting. Here are the different types of pickleball balls, depending on the playing set:

  • Indoor balls:  These are used for playing pickleball indoors and are usually lighter than outdoor balls. They’re made of softer plastic and have smaller holes, which slows them down and makes them easier to control. Indoor balls also have less bounce compared to outdoor balls.
  • Outdoor balls:  These are used for playing pickleball outside and are usually heavier than indoor balls. They have bigger holes and are made of more rigid plastic, which makes them faster and more durable. Outdoor balls also bounce more than indoor balls, causing the throws to be more exciting and challenging. 
  • Onix Pure 2 Outdoor Ball:  This is a unique outdoor ball that the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) has approved for tournament play. It is made of strong, high-quality plastic with larger holes and a smooth surface that help the ball fly straight.
  • Onix Fuse Indoor Ball:  This is a specialized indoor ball approved for tournament play by the USAPA. It is made of a softer plastic and has smaller holes and a slightly textured surface, which makes it easier to control the shot.
  • Dura Fast 40 Outdoor Ball:

Another popular outdoor ball is the Dura Fast 40 Outdoor Ball. This ball is used in a lot of tournaments and competitions. It is made of hard plastic with larger holes and is known for its durability and consistent flight patterns. 

2. Pickleball Paddle 

The paddle is the primary tool in pickleball to hit the ball over the net. Usually, the paddle is made of lightweight materials like wood, graphite, carbon fiber, or composite materials.

Paddles are typically oval or tear-shaped, and their surface area ranges between 80 and 110 square inches. Some paddles have a honeycomb-like structure, which helps to spread the paddle’s weight and make a more prominent sweet spot for hitting the ball.

The grip of the paddle is similar to a tennis racket. The handle is made using synthetic leather or rubber. Some paddles also have an “edge guard” that keeps the paddle’s edge from getting damaged during play.

The thickness of the paddle can vary. However, most paddles have a thickness of 0.5 to 1 inch. According to the International Pickleball Federation (IFP), a paddle can only be at most 24 inches long, 8 inches wide, and 0.5 inches thick.

3. Pickleball Nets

The net for pickleball is a low-hanging, rectangular mesh structure that is put in the middle of the court to divide it in half. For the ball to be in play, it has to go over the net and land within the court’s boundaries.

Most nets are about 22 feet wide, 36 inches high at the edges, and 34 inches tall in the middle. Depending on the situation, different nets are used. Such as –

  • Portable nets are easy to set up and take down, and players can use them indoors and outdoors. They are usually made of lightweight materials like aluminum, and the net is attached to the frame with Velcro straps or other similar systems. 
  • Permanent Nets are used in more formal pickleball settings like parks and public courts. These nets are made to be anchored in the ground and are made of solid materials that can withstand the weather. 
  • Pop-up Net: Similar to portable nets, pop-up nets are even easier to set up. They are usually made of light materials and can be put up with little effort. Pop-up nets are ideal for players who wish to practice on the go or set up a backyard game quickly. 
  • QuickStart Net: QuickStart nets are made for kids just starting to play pickleball. They’re smaller than regular nets and can usually be set at different heights depending on the age and skill level of the players.

4. Pickleball Court

A traditional pickleball court has a rectangular shape. The playing surface has a width of 20 feet and a length of 44 feet. It is split in half by a net that is 36 inches tall at each end and 34 inches tall in the middle.

Each side of the net has two service courts that are 10 feet wide and 15 feet long. These service courts have a centerline and a service line. The area between the centerline and the net is called the “kitchen” or “non-volley zone.”

The rest of the court is called the baseline, marked by two sidelines and two baselines.

If you have a keen eye, you’ll notice the similarities between a pickleball court and a tennis court. You can start from scratch and build a pickleball court. However, if you have an existing tennis or badminton court, you can easily turn it into a pickleball court. 

Now that we’ve gone over all the necessary pickleball gear, let’s explore some additional optional accessories that may still be useful to everyone. 

5. Pickleball Tutor Ball Machine

I’ve been using the pickleball tutor ball machine in my training, and it’s been a game-changer. This machine mimics an opponent’s shots, which has helped me improve accuracy, speed, and consistency. I’ve practiced different shots repeatedly because I can set the device to shoot at different speeds, heights, and spins. And since it’s battery-powered, I can easily use it on the court. 

All levels of players, from beginners to experts, can use the machine to improve their groundstrokes, volleys, and serves. It is often done with a coach or trainer, who can help the player figure out how to improve their technique. Some models can hold up to 150 balls and can be set to shoot them in a particular pattern to help players improve their footwork and positioning.

Overall, this machine has been a valuable part of my pickleball training. 

6. Pickleball Gloves

Pickleball players wear special gloves to improve their grip on the paddle and keep their hands from getting blisters and calluses. The textured surface of the gloves enhances the grip of the paddle. The gloves make it easier for players to avoid making bad hits and control their shots. The gloves also give your hands more padding and support, which can help prevent injuries and keep your hands from getting tired when you play for a long time.

Players typically wear the glove on their non-dominant hand (i.e., their non-paddle hand). This may look strange, but it enables the player to keep a firm grip on the paddle with their dominant hand while taking advantage of the glove’s enhanced grip and bolstered support for their non-dominant hand.

7. Pickleball Bags For Men and Women

Pickleball bags carry and store paddles, balls, and other accessories. They’re ideal for any pickleball player, regardless of their experience level. These bags are handy for those traveling to different pickleball courts or tournaments, as they provide a convenient and organized way to carry all their equipment. Additionally, a pickleball bag can help protect equipment from damage during transport.

Here are some types of pickleball bags that are popular among both men and women. 

  • Backpacks: Backpacks are bags you wear on your back. They benefit people who like to travel light but want to carry many things. Usually, they have a single compartment that can hold 1-2 paddles, a water bottle, and a few balls. Many backpacks also have smaller pockets for things like wallets or phones. 
  • Tote bags: You carry these by hand, and they look more stylish than a traditional backpack. Tote bags are usually bigger and can fit more than one paddle, as well as shoes and other accessories. They might also have a few pockets for personal items.
  • Duffel Bags: Duffel bags are usually larger and can hold several paddles, shoes, and other items. They usually have a shoulder strap and can be worn like a backpack or held by the handles.
  • Sling Bags: Sling bags are made to be worn across the body and are great for people who don’t want to use their hands. They usually hold one paddle and a few other things.

As many pickleball players have said, you should choose a pickleball bag based on how durable it is rather than how stylish it is. You should also pay attention to extra features, like waterproofing or ventilation for wet gear.

8. Pickleball Apparel

Pickleball apparel is clothing made just for playing pickleball. The clothes are made to help players feel more comfortable and perform better on the court so that they can focus on their game. 

Pickleball apparel can include a variety of clothing items, such as:

  • Pickleball Shirts: These are shirts that are made especially for playing pickleball. They are created with lightweight, breathable materials like polyester, which wick away sweat and keep players cool during games. Pickleball shirts often have their designs and graphics, like slogans and pictures about the sport.
  • Pickleball Shorts: Pickleball shorts are made of the same materials as pickleball shirts. They’re usually made of lightweight fabrics that don’t hold onto moisture. They typically have a loose, comfortable fit that makes them easy to move and gives you the most range of motion.
  • Pickleball Skirts: Pickleball skirts are similar to tennis skirts but shorter and have a flared design that lets you move around more. They are usually made of breathable materials like polyester. They also contain built-in shorts for extra comfort and support.
  • Pickleball Shoes: Pickleball shoes are made with specific features to help players be more agile and quick on the court. They usually have a non-marking sole that won’t leave marks on indoor courts. They also have good grip and stability on different surfaces.
  • Pickleball Socks: Pickleball socks are made to give your feet more support and padding while you play. They may have extra padding in the heel and toe areas to reduce the chance of blisters and other foot injuries. 

9. Additional Pickleball Accessories

A player needs a paddle, a ball, and the right clothes to play pickleball, but a few other things can help. Here are some examples of additional pickleball accessories:

  • Pickleball Hat: Pickleball hats are the specialized headwear of choice for the sport. The brim is typically curled like that of a baseball cap to shield the wearer’s eyes from the sun.
  • Pickleball Visors: Pickleball visors are like hats, but they don’t have a top. Instead, they have a brim that shades your eyes and forehead from the sun. While playing pickleball in the sun, many pickleball players cover their eyes with visors.
  • Training Paddles: Players can use training paddles to improve their technique. Some training paddles are oversized, while others may be weighted to assist players in gaining strength and control.
  • Court Markers: Court markers help players practice their shot placement and positioning by denoting different court areas.
  • Grip Tape: Resistance bands or grip tapes are used to increase players’ strength and stamina. They can be used to strengthen one’s shoulders and body core.

Final Thoughts

In recent years, Pickleball has risen in popularity. Having the right pickleball equipment can significantly affect how well you play. Every piece of equipment, from the paddle to the shoes, has its own unique features that can help you play better. With so many choices, you can try out different paddle materials, ball types, and shoe styles until you find the best one. So why not take the time to look into all the different pickleball equipment options and see how they can help you take your game to the next level? In this article, we’ve provided you with the complete pickleball equipment list. Hopefully, this will make your pickleball journey easier.

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