How do I play pickleball at the YMCA?

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country--and you can play at the YMCA! Signing up to play during All Skill play is highly recommended. Details below.

  • What is pickleball?
    Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States. It combines elements of badminton, tennis and ping pong and is played with solid paddles and a perforated ball similar to a wiffle ball on a short solid court with a low net. With a shorter court and lightweight paddles, pickleball is a game that can be enjoyed by all ages and can be played as singles or doubles. Doubles is the more common form of play.


  • Who can play pickleball at the YMCA?
    Both indoor and outdoor pickleball all skill play is included with a YMCA of Greater Brandywine membership. All levels of pickleball players--from beginner to advanced--will find a place to play at the YMCA.

  • Where do I play pickleball at the YMCA?
    The YMCA of Greater Brandywine has almost 40 pickleball courts across its Chester County locations:
      • Indoor courts are located at our Brandywine, Jennersville, Kennett Area, Lionville Community, Oscar Lasko, Upper Main Line and West Chester Area YMCAs.
      • Outdoor courts are located at our Brandywine, Kennett Area and Upper Main Line YMCAs.

  • What if I have never played pickleball? Are there different pickleball skill levels at YGBW?
    At the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, there are three levels of play: beginner, intermediate and advanced. All levels of pickleball players--from beginner to advanced--will find a place to play at the YMCA. If you are new to pickleball, we highly recommend attending all skill level play (advanced sign up is required) and joining in the beginner level where you can learn the basics and meet other players. All are welcome to attend the beginner level.

    To move to the intermediate or advanced levels, a simple skills test is required with the following skills being tested. You can sign up for a skills test via Pickleball Den. Please note: If you complete a skills test and pass to the intermediate or advanced levels, you must play at the level you test for. You cannot go back and play at a previous level.
    • Beginners/Novice Level

      • No testing required
    • Intermediate Level
      • A. Drop shot from transition area (Middle of the court)
      • Hitting Forehand from TRANSITION AREA, be able to drop 7 of 10 tries in the kitchen area of the court
      • Backhand 7/10
    • Advanced Level
      • A. Drop shot from baseline (Baseline of the court)
      • Hitting Forehand from BASELINE, be able to drop 7 of 10 tries in the kitchen area of the court
      • Backhand 7/10

  • How do I start playing pickleball at the YMCA of Greater Brandywine? Do I need to sign up in advance?
    Advanced sign up is required for all skill level pickleball play. (All skill level play includes beginner, intermediate and advanced players. For those just starting out, we highly recommend starting with beginner play.) To do this, create a free pickleball account on Pickleball Den following these easy steps:
      • Download the YGBW Mobile App and log into your YGBW account.
      • Click on the pickleball paddle icon toward the top of the screen.
      • Enter the requested information to create your pickleball account and click "Create Account." (If you already have an account, simply log in.)
      • Once our team confirms your YGBW membership, you'll be able to use our mobile app to register for all skill level pickleball play.
    Please note the following:
    • Only YMCA of Greater Brandywine members can reserve spots for all skill level pickleball play. Not a member? Join today.
    • To ensure everyone has a chance to play, members are able to sign up for one all skill level play session for any given day.
    • Individuals who do not sign up in advance for all skill level play may be turned away, unless a slot remains available.
    • Availability will be limited to six players per court (i.e., three courts would allow 18 spaces).
  • What is Pickleball Den? How do I sign up for it?
    Pickleball Den centralizes information about YGBW pickleball including all skill level play schedules, leagues, leveling appointments and more. Additionally, Pickleball Den allows users to connect with other players, create friend lists and post to a personal timeline to share pickleball activity and content with friends. Sign up for a free Pickleball Den account today. Once YGBW staff have verified your membership, you will have full access to Pickleball Den features for free through your active YGBW membership.

  • When can members play pickleball at the YMCA?
    View the pickleball schedule on our website to see when courts are available. Advanced sign up is required to ensure you have a space.

  • What do I wear to play pickleball?
    Players are encouraged to wear athletic attire that allows for easy movement and sneakers or non-marking shoes. Tennis shoes are recommend as they provide the best stability for side-to-side movement.

  • Do I need to bring my own equipment to play pickleball at the YMCA?
    Pickleball nets and paddles are available at the YMCA, but players are to bring their own pickleball balls. Some members prefer to purchase their own paddles, and they are welcome to use them at the YMCA.

  • What YGBW pickleball rules do I need to be aware of?
    • We play pickleball because we want to have fun, exercise and interact with other players in a good-natured manner. Players of all ability levels are welcome, and new players should be welcomed with a smile and introduction. When playing with players of apparent lesser ability, encourage their effort, praise good shots and don’t disparage poor ones. 
    • Players are expected to exhibit courtesy, respect, fairness and honesty in dealing with others, on and off the courts. Players should exhibit good sportsmanship at all times. They should not engage in rude or abusive behavior, use profane language, give unsolicited advice or let emotions get out of control. 
    • Good-natured ribbing within reason is considered part of the fun. 
    • The server is expected to announce the score before each serve. This gives the receiving team time to raise their hand to stop service if they hear an incorrect or inaudible score. 

    • Players will call the lines on their side of the net. The opponent gets the benefit of the doubt in that any ball that cannot be called “out” will be considered “in.” An “out” call must be made quickly, or play will continue with the presumption that the ball was “in.” If partners disagree on a call, they will give the point to the opponents. Do not argue line calls or try to influence calls by your opponents unless asked by them. You should call your partner’s kitchen violations or balls hitting yourself or your partner. 

    • Do not chase your ball on an adjacent court while they are playing a point. Ask them to return your ball after the point is complete, or retrieve it yourself between their points. 

    • If a ball strays onto your court, call “ball” to stop your point (to avoid injury). Retrieve the stray ball and return it to a player on the court from which it came. Replay the interrupted point. Do not swat the ball back toward the direction it came from, because play on additional courts may be impacted. 

  • What is the YGBW Pickleball Club?
    Members who want to take their love of pickleball to the next level are invited to join our Pickleball Club. In addition to the benefits above that all YGBW Members have access to, YGBW Pickleball Club members also enjoy:

    • Special pickleball play times on YGBW's pickleball courts

    • Invitations to Club Member socials

    • Invitations to Monthly Clinic and Special Play Events
    • Court Reservation Privileges - Set your own group up to play
    • Special pricing on YGBW Pickleball Apparel
    • Sunday Fundays - Club-only events at courts across YGBW.
    Join the YGBW Pickleball Club today!

  • Where can I learn more about pickleball at the YMCA?
    Visit the pickleball section of our website for all the latest information.