Where to Find Pickleball Lessons: A Comprehensive Guide
Pickleball is a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong to create a fun activity for people of all ages and fitness levels. This sport can be played indoor or outdoor and, much like tennis, as doubles or singles. Invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island just off of Washington, pickleball has quickly become one of the most popular sports in the United States.
According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, pickleball was named the fastest-growing sport in the US in 2021, 2022, and 2023. There has been 39.3% growth in the last two years alone, with over 4.8 million players taking on the courts.
With an increase in the number of new players, there is an increased demand for pickleball lessons. Lessons can help players improve skills and techniques, and, at the most basic level, teach beginners the how-to’s of the game.
Benefits of Taking Pickleball Lessons
Being a new player on the court can be intimidating. When first starting out, it can be difficult to pick up all of the rules and the best way to play the game. Becoming familiar with rules and strategies can help players feel more confident on the pickleball court size.
New players wanting to learn the tricks of the trade should highly consider investing in pickleball lessons. Taking lessons can help a player learn the rules of the game faster than they would by just playing pick-up games at the local rec center. Organized instruction can help a new player learn game strategy, proper technique (like how to hold a paddle the right way), and act as a buffer for developing bad habits.
Group instruction also acts as an opportunity to socialize with other new players and make connections within the pickleball community. Finding a group of similar-level players to practice with will help with building new skills and practicing what was taught in group lessons.
Local Recreation Centers and Community Clubs
Many local recreation centers offer pickleball lessons. This is a great place to start because many people are already familiar with their local rec centers and may even know the coaches already. Learning the ins and outs of pickleball in a structured environment with experienced instructors is one of the best ways to up your game quickly.
Direct feedback is best when learning how to play. Having an instructor watch your technique and provide specific feedback will help you learn what to improve and how to work on it in your own time.
Some commonly known community clubs that offer lessons include the YMCA, LifeTime gyms, tennis centers, and county recreation departments in many places.
Pickleball Associations and Clubs
On a larger scale, there are various regional and national Pickleball associations that also provide lessons. Professional players that have been certified as good instructors by larger associations are typically great to learn from.
These instructors have ample experience of their own playing the game, and have been recognized as fit for teaching fellow players. Their instruction will likely include tips and tricks from their own experience as well as technical guidance on form and skill development.
If you’re looking for that one-on-one or small group feel, you can find certified instructors through websites like USA Pickleball, which has a website page dedicated to finding pickleball clubs throughout the United States and Canada.
And if you’re interested in finding places to play (and maybe meet people who will have recommendations for lessons!) check out USA Pickleball’s Places 2 Play (P2P) database. This site is updated regularly by 19,000+ ambassadors and 40,000+ members who keep the database full of up-to-date information about locations to play all throughout the country.
Online Platforms and Virtual Lessons
For some players, studying the technical parts of the game before hitting the courts feels most comfortable. There are many online platforms where players can learn skills and strategies for the game without having to pick up their paddle (at first, anyway!).
Online platforms for pickleball lessons are growing in popularity as the sport sees more and more people each year. Online or virtual lessons are convenient and work well with most people’s schedules. The flexibility of virtual lessons is a definite benefit when comparing to lessons at a rec center or with an instructor on a court.
There are many websites out there, but check these out first, as they come highly recommended:
- USA Pickleball: How to Play section offers lessons on mastering the basics, tips for gameplay, and pickleball strategy.
- Sara Ansboury Pickleball Academy: this online platform offers a variety of different lessons for different levels for a modest cost.
- Top Court: online lessons with pickleball professionals, this is the official e-learning platform of the Pro Pickleball Association
Local Sports Centers and Gyms
Many gyms and sports centers are starting to offer pickleball lessons. Most people are members of a gym already, so finding offerings within the gym to enhance your pickleball skill is convenient.
Learning within a gym environment is also beneficial because of the access to additional resources. Working with a personal trainer may be suitable for players who are looking for ways to cross-train, or work on the strength and agility needed for pickleball with off the court exercises.
A popular gym that offers a range of lessons, including pickleball, are LifeTime gyms. With over 160 locations, LifeTime gyms are spread around the U.S. making them a resource for many. Here you can find intro to pickleball lessons, open play, mixers, clinics, lessons, leagues and tournaments.
Local Parks and Recreation Departments
Some parks and recreation departments organize pickleball lessons, as well. These trainings are likely to be more casual than one-on-one instruction at a sports center or a multi-day clinic experience. Learning in a casual, relaxed environment is beneficial for players who are not trying to become pro’s overnight, but want to learn how to play the game.
If this sounds like a fun way to learn, check out your local parks and recreation department online or by stopping by a local office to learn more about their offerings.
Personal Trainers and Private Coaches
If group learning isn’t your style, there are always options to hire personal trainers or private coaches for one-on-one lessons. Group lessons are great for value and achieving a balance of attention, guidance, and learning by watching others. For more personalized attention, one-on-one instruction is the best option.
When meeting individually with an instructor, you get tailored instruction from the coach that is specific to you. Having a professional watch your technique and give specific feedback about the mechanics of the way you are moving is an unbeatable way to improve your game.
When looking for private coaches or personal trainers, make sure to look at reviews and solicit recommendations from other players you know. Ideally you will want to work with someone who has experience working with other players at your skill level, and someone who has a lot of experience playing themselves.
Look for instructor qualifications, such as being certified by reputable organizations (Professional Pickleball Registry, International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association), which ensures they have received training and/or possess the skills to teach effectively.
Testimonials and Reviews
Regardless of where you go to learn more about the game of Pickleball, make sure you read testimonials and reviews from others who have used those services. It is important to do your research before committing to a coach or training program.
There are different types of instructors that work better for different types of players. You’ll want to find an instructor whose teaching style aligns with the way you like to learn, and who has experience working with others at your skill level.
You can seek personal recommendations by chatting with other players between games at local pickleball court. This helps you find a recommendation, and also helps to connect you with the pickleball community. There are also many local pickleball groups on Facebook. Pickleballers tend to be very active online. Search for a pickleball Facebook group in your area and ask for recommendations. You may have the chance to interact with coaches that are looking for new players to train, or maybe even find a group of players that want to do group lessons.
Regardless of if you’re brand new to the game or a true veteran of the sport, pickleball lessons can help anyone improve performance and learn new skills. There is no limit to the amount you can learn about pickleball, and taking different styles of lessons can only help you lose those bad habits and improve your game.
There are so many options to choose from when it comes to deciding which lessons are right for you. We encourage you to explore the available resources and start your pickleball learning journey today!