The Exciting Game of Pickleball: Rules, Scoring, and Lingo Explained

The Game of Pickleball

Pickleball has been gaining popularity in recent years, attracting both young and old players with its unique blend of elements from sports like tennis, badminton, and ping pong. This fast-paced game is played on a smaller court, making it accessible for people of all ages and skill levels. If you’re new to pickleball or wanting to learn more about this exciting sport, keep reading!

Understanding the Rules

Each round of pickleball begins with an underhand serve hit from outside the boundary on one side of the court, similar to tennis. The serve must be hit diagonally across the court and land in the opponent’s service zone. Once the ball is served, it needs to bounce once on each side before players can hit it out of the air or let it bounce once again. This rule adds an element of strategy to the game, requiring players to anticipate the ball’s trajectory.

However, there are certain restrictions on hitting the ball out of the air. Players cannot do so while standing in the non-volley zone, also known as the “kitchen.” The kitchen is an area on each side of the net where volleys are not allowed. Additionally, serves cannot fall within this zone. These rules ensure fair play and prevent one team from gaining an unfair advantage.

Scoring and Traditions

In pickleball, points are scored when the opposing team commits a fault, such as hitting the ball out of bounds. Only the serving team can score a point. Traditionally, the game is played to 11 points, with a lead of 2 or more required to win. However, casual players may choose to play to a lower score to allow more people to have a turn. This flexibility makes pickleball a versatile game that can be enjoyed in various settings.

Embracing the Lingo

As with any sport, pickleball has its own lingo that players and enthusiasts use to describe specific moves and situations. Here are some terms you should know:

– Dillball: A “live ball” that has bounced once inbounds during a rally.
– Dink: A soft hit that lands just over the net in your opponent’s kitchen, making it difficult to return.
– Kitchen: The non-volley zone surrounding the net.
– Pickled: When one team scores zero points in a game, they’ve been “pickled.”
– Volley Llama: An illegal move in which a player hits a volley shot from the non-volley zone.

These terms not only add a dose of fun to the game but also help players communicate effectively during matches.


Pickleball is a delightful and engaging sport that combines the best aspects of various other games. Its simplified rules, versatile scoring system, and unique lingo make it accessible to people of all skill levels and ages. Whether you’re looking for a new hobby, a social activity, or a competitive sport, pickleball is definitely worth a try. So grab a paddle and get ready to enjoy the thrill of this exciting game!

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