How to Introduce & Teach Pickleball to Your Kids (The Fun Way)

Est. Reading: 5 minutes

You may have heard that pickleball is a sport for all ages, and yes, this is true. In fact, even kids can play pickleball. So, whichever part of the world you live in, as long as there’s pickleball, it’s time for you to teach the sport to your children. 

But the question is how. Well, you came to the right place. In this article, you’ll learn how to introduce pickleball to your kids and teach them how to play. Continue reading, fellow parents!

Why Pickleball is Good for Kids

We have a long list of benefits of pickleball to kids, but let’s emphasize some of the most important ones here. First, the sport is a great way to bond with kids, especially since they are now easily distracted by gadgets. In short, pickleball is a family sport. Second, pickleball is easier to play than tennis and other paddle sports. And third, it does not only help improve your child’s physical health but mental health as well.

Is Pickleball Safe for Kids to Play?

Yes, definitely. Pickleball is very safe for kids to play. Although injuries are always possible in any sport, there are a lot of safety precautions, especially for children. For instance, don’t allow your child to play pickleball in wet courts. Also, there are a lot of pickleball paddles specifically designed for kids. But more importantly, make sure that you guide your kids and teach them properly. If possible, hire a professional coach.

What Age Can Kids Start Playing Pickleball?

Kids as young as three years old can start playing pickleball. Ideally, if your child can hold the paddle firmly, you can begin the teaching. Once your child has more coordinated moves, you can teach them to hit the ball over the net. In case you don’t know, 16-year-old Anna Leigh Waters is ranked No. 1 player in the world as of 2023. She played her first tournament at 11 and is currently the youngest professional pickleball player.

How to Introduce Pickleball to Your Child

As parents, our young children always believe in everything we say. Therefore, you can easily introduce your child to pickleball. However, the challenge is how you can get their interest in it. If you have tried introducing the sport to your child, but nothing happens, maybe you’re doing it incorrectly. So, here are some valuable tips you’ll hardly find elsewhere:

Start with a Toy Paddle and Ball

Kids love toys, especially if they can keep them moving. So, buy your child a toy paddle or racket that he can carry and a small ball. Give your child the ball and let him hit it with the toy racket. If you notice your child’s excitement once he hits the ball, that’s a good sign. But if he doesn’t, be patient and never force your child.

Let Your Child Watch Pickleball

As much as possible, bring your child to a pickleball game so he can watch players in action. Observe his reactions when the ball gets over the net, and players express their excitement after earning a point or winning a match. As an alternative, you can also let him watch pickleball games online. However, make sure your child has other activities.

Play Pickleball With Your Child

So far, this is the best way to introduce pickleball to your kids. Showing your child that you’re enjoying the sport is like inviting him to do the same. They do not have to understand the rules, except that the ball should go over the net. While your child watches you play, your child will somehow understand how pickleball is played.

How to Teach Your Kids to Play Pickleball

After introducing your child to pickleball and he looks interested in it, it’s time to teach him how to play it properly. Again, we parents are models for our children. So, if your children see you play pickleball, it will be easier for you to teach them about pickleball. Here are some tips:

Start With the Equipment

Start with pickleball equipment, including the paddle, ball, net, and pickleball court. If your child has been in a court and has seen players play, he is now somehow familiar with them. Therefore, teaching your child further is a walk in the park. If your child cannot read that well yet, you don’t have to teach him everything. Just let him enjoy it.

Teach the Basic Rules

Once you see your child is improving in hitting the ball over the net, it’s time for you to teach the basic rules of pickleball. This includes how to serve correctly and allowing the ball to bounce once before returning it. Next are the line and kitchen rules. The best way to teach them these is to visit a pickleball court and show them personally.

Teach Basic Techniques

Once your child is familiar with the pickleball rules, you can teach him some playing strategies. Ideally, 10-year-old kids can quickly learn to analyze plays and practice some tricks. They can now run faster and can chase the ball and return it. If you’re not that much into the sport, you can also hire a professional pickleball coach or trainer.

Find Suitable Opponents

Once your child turns 11 or 12, they can now play with an opponent. However, it’s best if your kid starts playing in doubles. It will help your child improve and teach him about teamwork and socializing. But then, ensure that the opponents suit your child’s ability and can help increase self-confidence.

Make Sure Your Child is Enjoying

Nothing is better than doing what you love, especially if you are young. Don’t force your kid to play pickleball if he doesn’t want to. If he is no longer enjoying the sport, let him be. If he keeps committing mistakes, give him tips and some motivation. Criticizing your child and comparing him to the other kids are the worst things you can do.

Are There Pickleball Tournaments for Kids?

Yes, of course. In fact, pickleball tournaments are almost everywhere. For instance, the USA Pickleball has approved some tournament formats for boys and girls as young as 12. These pickleball matches for kids include singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. The Professional Pickleball Association (PPA Tour) also has its own Junior PPA events. But first, explain clearly to your child what tournaments are and that he should agree to join.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know pickleball is also for kids, the key here is to start teaching the sport to your children as early as possible. Explain to them the benefits of pickleball they can gain, especially the fun and excitement. Better yet, show them that you’re also interested in the sport. But again, don’t force them if they don’t like it. Instead, introduce a similar sport to them. Who knows? Your child will go back to pickleball before you know it.

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