A beginner’s guide to the St. Louis pickleball scene

Pock, pock. Pock, pock.

That’s the sound of pickleball season in St. Louis, where a growing number of parks and clubs are getting into the swing of this fast-growing sport. Even if you haven’t yet hit the hardcourt or picked up a paddle yourself, there are lots of places to learn this ultra-accessible sport and become a pickleball wizard in no time. “We’ve been real fortunate here in St. Louis to have, what I consider to be, exponential growth of courts, venues, and places to play,” says Mike Chapin, a local pickleball pro who helps oversee the website St. Louis Pickleball. “It’s a very inclusive sport where people want to help others get involved, and learn and grow the game. It’s something that individuals at any age can get involved in.”

Are you ready to join the legions of St. Louisans who’ve flocked to pickleball courts around the region? Use this guide as a resource for finding lessons, equipment, and how to play.


The game is played on a small, rectangular court that is divided into two sides by a low net. Players can compete in one-on-one or doubles action, and the first side to reach 11 points—with a two-point advantage—wins.

To start a rally, the player standing behind the right square will deliver an underhand serve to the player in the diagonal square. Both the initial serve and the return must bounce. From there, the teams will volley until the ball hits the net, goes out of bounds, or bounces twice. Only the serving team can score. 

Be aware of the rectangular area in front of the net, commonly called the Kitchen. Players cannot hit the ball in the air while standing in the Kitchen. There are additional rules to learn and consider as you enter

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