Pickleball can be played as either singles or doubles and the rules are the same for both iterations.
Without bouncing the ball off the court, it must be served underhanded and diagonally to the opponent’s service court from behind the baseline.
The serve has to clear the net and may not land in the kitchen.
Points are scored when the opponent faults (failing to return the ball, hitting the ball out of bounds or into the net).
Only the serving team can score.
The server will continue to serve, each time by alternating service courts, until the serving side faults.
Games are played to at least 11 points and must be won by a lead 2.
After the ball is served, the ball must bounce at least once on each side before being able to volley the ball. This is known as the double bounce rule.
Players cannot volley the ball while standing within the non-volley zone or on the non-volley line.
Despite how complicated the rules might sound, pickleball is easy to pick up with only a few matches of play. With such a friendly atmosphere at the core of this sport, other players will be more than happy to help you grasp the rules. The more you play, the quicker these rules will become second nature so you can begin your journey on the road to mastery!
Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court that measures 44’ by 20’. The net measures 36” on the sides and droops down to 34” in the middle. These are the standard regulations for both singles and doubles play.
Starting on the right-hand service zone and then alternating between serves, the server starts by standing behind the baseline at the end of the court. Then, with the paddle below the waist, the ball must be served underhanded to the diagonal opponent’s service zone. So, for example, if you serve from your left service zone, then the ball must land in the opponent’s left service zone and vice-versa. Serves must clear both the net and the non-volley zone, including the non-volley lines (if the ball touches this line during the serve, it’s considered a fault).
During a serve, the ball cannot bounce on the ground and must be hit while in the air. Additionally, both feet must be behind the baseline during service. Only one attempt at serving is allowed, unless the ball hits the net and lands in the proper service court (in this case, this is known as a “let” and the server gets another chance).
In a doubles match, each player gets to serve until a fault occurs. The only exception to this rule occurs during the first service of each game, where only one player from the initial serving side gets to serve before service is given to the other team.
Each time service passes between teams, the first serve is always done from the right hand court. If you score, then you switch to the left side of the court to serve. Players who serve are allowed to keep doing so until a fault occurs. For games of doubles, if the first server commits a fault, then their partner serves from the same side of the court as the first server did.