pickleball paddle and ball

Essential Pickleball Gear and Equipment

Your Guide to Pickleball Gear

Playing pickleball is a popular sport that requires several crucial pieces of equipment including a pickleball paddle, ball, and appropriate footwear. Other optional equipment includes a pickleball net, a ball machine, and court markers. Comfortable athletic wear with moisture-wicking materials is essential for staying cool and dry during play.  Investing in good quality equipment enhances the playing experience and promotes success on the court.

Pickleball Paddle

The paddle is the most important piece of equipment in pickleball. It can be made of wood, composite, or graphite, and should have a comfortable grip. The size and weight of the paddle vary according to the player’s preference, but most paddles are about 8 inches wide and weigh somewhere between 6 and 14 ounces.

When choosing a pickleball paddle, players should consider factors such as weight, shape, size, and material. For beginners, a lightweight paddle made of composite or aluminum may be more suitable, while advanced players may prefer heavier paddles made of graphite or carbon fibre. 

Pickleball Ball

The ball used in pickleball is slightly larger than a tennis ball and has unique features, such as holes that reduce its air resistance, making it slower than a tennis ball.  The most common pickleball ball is usually yellow with holes, similar to a wiffle ball but larger.  There are two types of balls for pickleball: indoor and outdoor. 

Indoor Balls

Indoor balls tend to be slightly lighter and have a thinner plastic. The holes in the ball are also larger in indoor balls, this leads to a softer ball feel and easier control. The thin plastic make the ball softer and slows down the speed.

Outdoor Balls

Outdoor balls have a thicker plastic, smaller holes, and are a bit heavier. The  smaller holes make them less affected by wind and the thicker plastic helps with durability. This can contribute to the ball coming off the paddle faster and harder than indoor balls. 

Quality does matter when it comes to the pickleball ball.  Going too cheap and you’ll get balls with a poor bounce and will not last very long. Overtime the plastic will soften or the ball shape may alter from hitting.   If you feel like our balls are bouncing funny or not traveling as far, it may be time to replace.  

pickleball outdoor ball

Pickleball Shoes

The court surface will also influence the type of footwear required. Players should choose court shoes with non-marking soles to prevent the court from getting damage. 

As this sport involves a lot of movements around the court, players should wear shoes that provide good support and traction. For safe play and to prevent injuries, choose shoes that allow for side-to-side motion.  This means running shoes will not be a great choice for you as those are designed for forward motion.  Shoes for tennis, cross-training, or those specifically designed for pickleball will all work here. 

Pickleball Attire

Athletic attire is best for this sport.  You will be very active during play so chose clothes that you can move freely and that are moisture wicking.  Layers are recommended for chilly mornings and late afternoons.  Check out our collections for men, women, and kids for stylish pickleball wear to up your style and sense of play. 

Pickleball Court and Net

Likely, you’ll be going to a facility, either indoor or outdoor, that already has the court marked and the net provided.  However, often pickleball courts are marked on top of tennis courts with the net set up for tennis, not pickleball. In this case you may need to bring your own pickleball net.  Additionally, with the ever increasing popularity of the sport, those with big backyards and old basketball or tennis courts are starting to create their own.  Here are the guidelines for the court and the net you will need. 

Pickleball Court

The court is a little over half the size of a tennis court.  Pickleball court outer dimensions: 44 ft x 20 ft; tennis court dimensions: 78 ft x 36 ft. This makes for a much more efficient use of space for municipalities (you can often fit 4 pickleball courts into the size of one tennis court).  This small court size also allows for more home owners to DIY their own courts. This article can help guide you with building your own pickleball court.

The United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA) regulation pickleball court size is 20 feet (6.10 m) wide by 44 feet (13.41 m) long. In pickleball, the same sized court is used for singles and doubles play. The rulebook states that the total minimum play area is 30 feet (9.14 m) wide by 60 feet (18.29 m) long when out-of-bounds areas are included.  To create your own court quickly, layout markers for the dimensions to include your side lines, base lines, center line, and non-volley zone.  There are even kits out there to make this quick and easy.  

Pickleball Court Dimensions Diagram

Pickleball Court Dimension Diagram

Pickleball Net

 Since the court is small, you can create a make shift one almost anywhere (tennis court, badminton court, parking lot), but you will need a net. The net height of a pickleball court is 36 inches high at the sidelines and 34 inches high in the middle.   There are many quick and easy portable pickleball nets that you can pickup.  Here are a few top sellers: Zeny, A11N Sports, Pickleball Inc.

Pickleball Training Equipment

If it’s time to get really serious about upping your game, then consider investing in some training equipment.  

Ball Retriever

This equipment can get essential pretty quickly if you are doing a lot of practice.  When you are practicing your serves and swings, you often are using a lot of balls to get more repetition in.  This results in balls all over the court you need to pick up which gets tiresome.  A pickleball ball retrieve cuts the effort considerable. The simplicity of the retrieving tube is nice. Or you may prefer the basket style.

Ball Tosser Machine

One that I am most eager to splurge on is a ball tosser. These machines can run in the thousands. But similar to any other sport, repetition and practice is the only way to get better.  So if you need more help on improving your swing than  you are getting from normal play, then you might want to save up for this.  There are some lower end, less costly ones out there you can start out with.  Here are a couple to research: higher end machine, lower end tosser

Rebounder

If you have an area to practice against a wall, you can help hone your skill and hit accuracy with a rebounder poster.  These wall hangings set targets for you to practice your aim and control.  Most are portable and reusable.  

 

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