Pickleball - The Game Rules
Updated: Sep 25, 2020
Pickleball is a fun and easy to pick-up sport that is great for all ages. With the increase in popularity, courts are being built all around the world. Today we'll go over the simple game rules for playing pickleball so you can be on the road to winning your next match!
Basic Pickleball Rules
Pickleball can be played as a singles or doubles game, the court and rules are the same for both.
A pickleball game is normally played to 11 and must be won by 2. You can only score a point while serving. The score should be said aloud before each serve with the serving teams score stated first, in doubles both players on a team serve so the last number stated should be to identify which server is serving. e.g. 5 - 3 - 1 would mean the serving team is winning 5 to 3 and the server is the 1st server on the team, for the 2nd server it would be 5 - 3 - 2
The serve must be hit with an underhand swinging motion and the ball contacted below the hips. When hitting the serve the server must be behind the baseline and serve into the adjacent service box as is done in tennis. You only get 1 serve, if the ball is hit out of the court, into the net or into the no-volley zone (kitchen) it is a side out. The center line, side lines and baselines are considered in on a serve but if the ball lands on the no-volley line it is a side out. If the ball hit the net and goes into the service box it is a let and the server maintains the serve. You only score points while serving.
In doubles each player serves until a point is lost then the other team gets the serve. At the start of the game the team that serves first only gets 1 player to server so the score starts at 0 - 0 - 2. The 2 meaning it is already the 2nd server. The 1st server on each side is always from the right service box serving into the right service box on the other side.
Double Bounce Rule
When the ball is served the player on the receiving side must let the ball bounce once before hitting it. When the ball is returned to the serving side the ball must again bounce once before being hit. After the ball has bounced once on each side the ball can be hit without bouncing as long as you aren't in the no-volley zone 7 feet from the net.
No Volley Zone (Kitchen)
The No-Volley Zone is 7 feet from the net on each side. A player can not hit a ball if he is inside the No-Volley Zone unless the ball bounces first. If a ball hit a player in the No-Volley zone before bouncing the point is lost. Once a ball bounces a player can hit the ball while inside the zone. If a player hits a ball while outside the No-Volley Zone the momentum takes him/her into the zone the point is lost. If your foot touches any part of the line you are considered inside the zone, you can reach over the line and hit a ball as long as your foot is behind the line. If a serve hits the No-Volley line the serving team loses the point.
Special thanks to Pickleball Fix for the pickleball rules and graphic!