The Unique Rules of Pickleball: A Fun and Competitive Sport

Learn the Rules and Dive into the World of Pickleball

Pickleball, with its quirky name and combination of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, has gained popularity as a fun and competitive sport. However, to fully enjoy your first game of pickleball, it is important to familiarize yourself with its unique set of rules and regulations. Here, we will discuss some of the basic rules that every first-time player should know before stepping onto the court.

Serving Rules of Pickleball

The game of pickleball begins with the serve, where players put the ball into play. A key rule to remember is that all serves in pickleball must be underhand. While there is an option to use a drop serve, the majority of players opt for the volley serve. This serve requires players to strike the ball with an underhand motion, ensuring that the paddle is below their waist and that the highest part of the paddle head is below their wrist. Additionally, the serve must be made diagonally to the opponent’s side, clearing the net and avoiding the kitchen.

Calling the Score

Another rule to remember is the requirement to announce the score before each point. In doubles, the serving team announces their score first, followed by the opponent’s score, and then a third number which indicates the serving order. This third number is important because it determines which player serves first in each possession. It is essential to understand this scoring system to avoid confusion during the game.

Alternating Serves

The serving rotation in pickleball differs between singles and doubles. In singles, the serving rotation is straightforward. The server begins by serving from behind the baseline of their right service court. If they win the rally, they switch to the left service court and continue this rotation until they lose the rally, at which point, the opposing player serves from their right service court. In doubles, however, the serving rotation is more complex. Each player on a team serves before turning the ball over to the other team, except for the first server of the match, who starts from the right service court. It is important to keep track of the starting server for each team as it changes throughout the game.

Three Common Ways to Lose a Rally

During gameplay, there are several ways to lose a rally in pickleball. These include hitting the ball out of bounds, allowing double bounces, and volleying in the kitchen. Players must ensure that their shots land inside the bounds of the court, return the ball after one bounce, and avoid hitting the ball while standing in the kitchen area. These rules are crucial for fair and enjoyable gameplay.

Scoring Rules

Scoring in pickleball is unique compared to other racket and paddle sports. Only the serving team can score points, and winning a game requires a margin of two points. Matches are typically played in a best-of-three format, with each game played to 11 points. In the event of a tie at 10-10, the game continues until one team has a two-point advantage, creating thrilling moments of overtime.


Pickleball may have a set of rules that sets it apart from other sports, but its simplicity and accessibility make it an enjoyable activity for players of all ages and skill levels. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, understanding these rules before stepping onto the court will enhance your experience and make your first few games less confusing and more enjoyable. So grab a paddle, familiarize yourself with the rules, and dive into the exciting world of pickleball!

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