From beginners to professionals, every player in a sport will benefit from training. Beginners will find it helpful to have an instructor teach basic form and techniques. Advanced players can improve their game and beat the competition with new techniques and advanced practice. The basic goal of pickleball lessons is to advance the skill of the player by getting regular court time with a professional who can find and correct errors in both their form and their understanding of the game and its rules.
With the advantage of pickleball lessons comes the disadvantage of cost. Lessons in any sport cost money. Professionals are not simply donating their time for free. Instructors often make a salary through giving pickleball lessons. Like their students, instructors need to pay their bills at the end of the month. Pickleball instructors are also often professional players and use instruction to partially defray the costs of playing the game professionally.
As always, prices quoted in this article are estimates from sources found around the Internet. Local prices will differ, and every professional sets their own price. The reader should feel free to shop around and find their own price that fits their budget. Estimates in this article are not guarantees.
YouTube tutorials are not “lessons.” A key part of lessons is the personal attention of an instructor. YouTube tutorials are a way for people who are interested in a sport to watch and learn. The basics of pickleball can be learned from videos in a user-controlled way. On YouTube it’s easy to find tutorials for every aspect of pickleball.
One of the best pickleball channels on YouTube is PrimeTime Pickleball. PrimeTime Pickleball was one of the first YouTube channels for the sport. PrimeTime Pickleball is hosted by 5.0 level pickleball player and certified pickleball coach Nicole Havlicek. PrimeTime’s goal is to grow the game of pickleball globally and deliver to the viewer an accessible and easy-to-understand summary of the game of pickleball. They state that their mission is, “so players can play the best pickleball of their life.”
YouTube channels have the advantage that they are easy to access and available anywhere. You can look up a YouTube lesson on the court and practice using it immediately. The disadvantage to YouTube lessons is that they can’t see what you’re doing and correct bad form.
YouTube channels are free.
Beginner to novice (skill level 1.0 to 3.0) pickleball lessons are given to teach players the basics of the sport. At the 1.0 skill level, a typical beginner will barely understand the sport. They may not be able to consistently serve a ball into play. Toward the late stages of beginner, the player may be able to serve and return relatively consistently, but may not be able to sustain a rally past two to three shots. Beginners will probably be dependent on the quick “ace” shot to get past their opponent. Some beginners, especially those entering the sport from a non-athletic background, may lack the endurance to maintain a rally. A beginner coach will focus on teaching and learning mechanics. Playing pickleball, footwork, how to serve, how to return a serve, and how and when to advance to the kitchen line will all be subjects of beginner lessons.
A player at the beginner level of pickleball will typically be learning lingo and individual skills, and lessons will typically last from 60 to 90 minutes and include some amount of free court time to implement the lessons of the day. At beginner or intro level, you can expect to learn bite-sized, digestible content chunks that will build iteratively on each other. At the end of a sequence of beginner lessons, a player should be able to play pickleball at a recreational level.
Beginner lessons typically cost around $25-60 per hour for small-group lessons, depending on location, and be given in groups of up to eight as mixed doubles. Private lessons can be much more expensive, ranging over $100 an hour for a professional’s undivided attention. Unlike more advanced lessons, beginner lessons can come in as short as a half hour or up to 90 minutes. Expect to pay for beginner lessons a month at a time.
An intermediate pickleball player (skill range from 3.5 to 4.0) knows and understands the rules. They understand the game and display the ability to sustain dinking and varying depths of shot. Intermediate players are still learning the game. When an intermediate player is seeking lessons, they’re looking to convert their understanding of the game of pickleball into a more advanced level of playing the game. Intermediate players are also learning to perform actions like lobs, drop shots, and placed shots. In short, the intermediate player is able to play the game well, but may not be able to play all parts of the game well.
Intermediate lessons are usually given in mixed-doubles settings with both new and returning players. Because intermediate instruction is typically more intensive than beginner instruction, it’s possible that intermediate lessons may cost more than beginner instruction. It’s also possible, especially if the professional is simply charging an hourly rate, that the lesson cost may not change between beginner and intermediate. $25-100 an hour is a typical rate and covers both court time and instruction time. Again, individual lessons will be much more expensive as the instructor’s time commitment is not being amortized over multiple students.
Advanced pickleball classes, for players competing at a 4.0 and above level, are not very typically given. At high competitive levels, pickleball players will often learn better by seeking out individual instruction for either singles or doubles play. Classes at the advanced level are difficult to price because they are tailored specifically to the player who is being instructed.
Advanced classes will almost always be given at an hourly rate comparable to the high end of other lesson types. The professionals teaching at the advanced levels are highly ranked pickleballers themselves, teaching other highly-ranked pickleballers.
Pickleball lessons grow more expensive as the player grows in skill. Professional players use their time to grow in their sport, and players looking to get better, from beginner to novice, to intermediate, to advanced, will seek out professionals to test themselves and learn from. Improving in any sport is an important part of growth as an athlete, and pickleball is no exception.