Pickleball is a fun and challenging sport that has gained notoriety in the United States and other countries over the last few decades. However, there are still many people who do not know much about it. With that in mind, this guide will go over the rules of pickleball, hopefully allowing newcomers to have a successful first time playing the game. Apart from going over the most important pickleball rules, it will go over all the items that are needed to become a well-equipped participant in this sport.
Perhaps as important as having a knowledge of all pickleball rules is owning the right equipment for the game. Before anything else, it is vital to have enough space to have a regulation-sized court. This court will have the same dimensions as a badminton court (20 feet by 44 feet). A 36-inch tall net should divide the court into two sides of the exact same size.
Individually, all players need to be armed with a regulation pickleball paddle. You can start by reviewing some quality graphite pickleball paddles. Once all that has been taken care of, all that is needed in order to start playing is a pickleball ball. This is a lightweight ball that is very similar to a whiffle ball.
7. The Basics
Before going over the most in-depth pickleball rules, it’s important to lay down the basics of the sport. Pickleball is played on a standard badminton-sized court (20 feet by 4 feet).
The serve must avoid the no-volley zone. If that happens, it’s time for the defending player or team to hit the ball and send it over to the opposite side of the court. It must be noted that, however, after a serve, the ball must bounce once for each player or team before it’s allowed to hit it back.
6. The Pickleball Serve
Starting with the right-hand service-square and alternating with each new iteration, the serve is made diagonally. To be considered valid, each serve must clear the non-volley area, landing on the diagonal service court.
In terms of posture, serves are made underhand with the paddle hitting the ball below the waist. During this action, the server has to keep both feet behind the back line of the court. The result should be the ball being hit without touching the floor and traveling to the opposite side of the court. Ideally, the ball goes over the volley zone and bouncing off the floor before it can be hit by the opposing player or team.
If a serve is failed, the server gets a second chance to do it correctly. In a two-person pickleball game, when a member of the team fails a serve, the opportunity to produce a valid serve goes to their teammate. This second serve has to be done from the left side of the court.
A volley is a move that entails hitting the ball before it bounces on the floor. Naturally, this can only be done when the player hitting the ball is not standing on the non-volley zone of the court. Additionally, the player should not be stepping on any lines when hitting the ball for the volley to be valid.
Non-Volley Zones: One of the most important pickleball rules has to do with the zones where it’s not allowed to hit a volley. These zones span seven feet to each side of the net.
4. The Double-Bounce Rule
Without a doubt, one of the most unique pickleball rules is the double-bounce rule. This rule requires that, after the serve, each player (or team) must let the ball bounce at least once before hitting it back. Once each side has allowed the ball to bounce once, both sides are allowed to produce volleys.
Bonus Read: Best Pickleball Balls
3. Calling Lines
Like most racquet sports, pickleball is played within a well-established area that’s signaled with clearly-drawn lines. Because, normally, there is no one besides the players to arbiter the game, pickleball depends on the players to tell whether a shot fell inside or outside a line.
If a fault takes place, depending on who caused it, either a point is earned, or a serve is lost. There are various instances on which a fault should be called, namely when:
- The ball touches the non-volley zone during a serve for the second time in a row. This includes the line.
- The ball is hit out of court bounds.
- A volley hit is done from the non-volley zone.
- The ball does not clear the net after a hit.
- The ball is volleyed before each side has allowed it to bounce at least once.
Another pickleball rule that is also unique is that sides can only score when serving. After scoring, a player or team will continue to serve until a fault is made. Once that happens, the serve (and, therefore, the opportunity to score) goes to the opposing team in a transition that is called Side Out.
Points: A player or team wins the game after scoring 11 points. However, it should be noted that a victory cannot be called unless a player or team has at least a two-point advantage over the other team.
Hopefully, having all the essential pickleball rules clearly described in this guide will give you the push you needed to become a participant in this exciting sport. Challenging, fun, and a perfect way to exercise in the company of friends, pickleball is a sport that will only continue its rise to prominence. Have you ever tried it? Let us know in the comments!