8 Common Mistakes New Pickleball Players Make

You’re bound to make some mistakes when you’re new to any game.

Pickleball is no different. 

But just knowing these common mistakes is a great way to make sure you don’t make them yourself.

The sooner you fix these mistakes, the better off you’ll be, so let’s get to it:


New players tend to grip the paddle with their palms instead of fingers. 

Using your palm will naturally cause the ball to pop up when you make contact. 

To better control and keep the ball down, try a continental grip. 

If you need a hand learning the continental grip, we have something you may like.

Start Rite Grip

Split step

A split step is a great way to advance on the court without getting caught off guard trying to hit the ball while still moving forward. 

It may feel like an uncomfortable motion at first, but it’ll become second nature with time. 

New players tend to focus on the kitchen, trying to get to it as quickly as possible. But, unfortunately, they’re so focused on moving forward that they’re not ready for the shot coming right at their feet. 

Don’t try to do too much

You might pick up pickleball pretty quickly. That’s great! 

But that doesn’t mean you’re ready for the advanced, more complicated plays. 

Don’t try to do too much out there. Focus on being consistent! Making the right play now and then doesn’t mean you’re a pro. You need to make it just about every time. 

Hit the return DEEP

A deep return is one of the most important aspects of a return. Not hard shots. Not accurate returns. Not returns with lots of spin. 

 A deep return gives you and your partner time and space to approach the kitchen and get a better position than your opponents.

Don’t attack every shot

Attacking the ball is an essential aspect of the game. New players will attack shots that should never be attacked. 

Whenever the ball is below the net, your shot has to lift the ball up to clear the net. Attacking this shot is a bad idea as it’s likely to go into the net. 

Instead, wait for a shot that’s above the net. 

You can hit the ball much harder because you don’t need to give it lift to clear the net. It’s already over it. Now you just need to add some power. 


When you are at the net, you take away your opponents’ time to react to your shot. 

If you’re the one at the baseline, you’ll just react to every shot as your opponent has all kinds of options at their disposal. 

Getting off the baseline is imperative to good play, especially in doubles. 

If your opponent starts hitting harder shots at you, trying to get you to back off, resort to more dinks to relieve the pressure to stay where you want to be. 

Too Hard

Power can be important. It can also be detrimental. Many new players just try to hit the ball as hard as they can just about every shot. 

Do not do this! 

If you’re hitting the ball hard all the time, you will pop the ball up a lot, letting your opponent (intelligently) smash it back. 

Treat each shot like a question. Part of the answer is what sort of shot (smash, dink, etc.) is correct. 

Let it go out

Most new players are on the court to hit the ball, so that’s what they’ll do. 

But there are going to be a lot of shots coming at you that are going to land out of bounds that you’re keeping in. 

Not only are you giving away a free point, but you’re very likely to handle this shot poorly. 

Balls up near the shoulder and head will most likely land out of bounds, even when you’re in the kitchen. 

If you make some of these mistakes, don’t worry about it. Mistakes are the price of learning. 

And now that you know some of the most common mistakes to look out for, you’ll be much less likely to make them yourself.