The Exciting Game of Pickleball: A Breakdown of the Rules


Pickleball, a popular racket sport, has been gaining immense popularity in recent years. This game, which can be played in either singles or doubles, combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. With its unique rules and fast-paced gameplay, pickleball offers a thrilling experience for players of all ages and skill levels.

The Basics

Pickleball can be played as both doubles and singles. The rules remain the same for both variations of the game. The objective is to score points by serving the ball and causing the opponent to fault, whether by failing to return the ball, hitting it out of bounds, or into the net. The serving side is the only one that can score points.

The first team to reach 11 points, with a lead of at least 2 points, wins the game. However, to win, a team must secure victory by winning by a margin of 2 points. It is important to note that after the serve, each side must make at least one ground-stroke before volleying the ball, essentially hitting it before it bounces.


In pickleball, serving is done underhand. The server must make contact with the ball below their waist using the paddle. Furthermore, at least one foot must start the serve behind the baseline. Neither foot can touch the baseline or court until after the ball is hit. The serve should be diagonal crosscourt and must land in the opposite diagonal court.

Each team in a doubles game gets to serve until they commit a fault. However, during the first service of each game, only one player from the initial serving team gets to serve before the service passes to the other team. Following every side change, the first serve comes from the right-hand court. Additionally, in doubles play, when the first server loses the serve, the partner moves to serve from the same side their partner last served from. In singles play, the server serves from the right side when their score is even and from the left side when their score is odd.

Scoring and Double Bounce Rule

Points are only scored by the serving team, and typical games are played to 11 points, with the requirement of winning by 2 points. In tournament games, the target can be changed to 15 or 21 points, but the winning margin of 2 points remains the same.

The double bounce rule is an essential aspect of pickleball. When the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning, and the serving team must also let it bounce before returning. However, after the initial two returns, no bounces are mandatory, and players can hit the ball with a groundstroke where it bounces first or with a volley where no bounce occurs.

The Non-Volley Zone

The non-volley zone, often referred to as the “kitchen,” is an area within 7 feet of the net on both sides of the court. Players are not allowed to volley the ball while standing within this zone. This rule prevents smashes from the net and promotes fair gameplay. Stepping into the non-volley zone or touching the line while volleying is considered a fault. However, players can be in the non-volley zone as long as they are not volleying the ball.

Line Calls and Faults

When it comes to line calls, balls contacting any line, except the non-volley zone line on a serve, are considered in. On the other hand, serves contacting the non-volley zone line are short and cause a fault.

Several situations can result in faults, including a serve that does not land within the receiving court, hitting the ball into the net or out of bounds, volleying before a bounce on both sides, stepping into the non-volley zone, or any violation of service rules. Furthermore, if a ball in play strikes a player or any permanent object before bouncing on the court, it is considered a fault.

The Final Serve

To determine the first serve, a coin toss is conducted. The winner of the coin toss has the option to choose their side or to serve or receive.


Pickleball is an exciting and dynamic sport that combines various elements from different racket sports. With its unique rules and fast-paced nature, it offers players an exhilarating experience. Whether you prefer doubles or singles, pickleball is a game that can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages and skill levels. So, grab a paddle, find a court, and get ready to serve your way to victory in this thrilling sport of pickleball.

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