The Unique Rules of Pickleball: A Fun and Challenging Sport


Pickleball, a fusion of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, may sound like an ordinary racket or paddle sport at first. However, it comes with a set of unique rules and regulations that make it stand out and provide a fun and competitive experience for players. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, understanding these rules is essential to enhance your enjoyment and performance on the court. In this article, we explore the ten key rules of pickleball and categorize them into serving rules, gameplay rules, and scoring rules.

Serving Rules of Pickleball

The serve initiates every pickleball point, and it is crucial to know the serving rules to start the game correctly. The most common serving style in pickleball is the volley serve, where the ball is struck before it bounces. However, it is important to note that volley serves must be underhand, with the paddle striking the ball below the waist. The underhand serve must be delivered diagonally to the opponent’s side, clearing the net and avoiding the non-volley zone, commonly referred to as the kitchen. When serving, players must also state the score before each point, allowing for clear communication between teams.

Alternating Serves

In doubles play, the serving rotation operates differently than in singles. Each member of a doubles team serves at least once before the ball is turned over to the opposing team. The serving rotation and positions depend on the serving number, with the first server starting from the right side of the court. After losing a rally, the first server’s partner becomes the second server and serves from the side they were on at the end of the previous rally. The serve continues to alternate between the teams until a side out occurs. It is important to note that the first-server exception may apply, equalizing the advantage of serving first in a game.

Gameplay Rules

Once the serve is made, the gameplay rules come into play, adding excitement and challenge to the game. The two-bounce rule, also known as the double-bounce rule, requires the receiving team to allow the ball to bounce once on each side before hitting it. This rule prevents players from volleying the ball without it touching the ground, promoting longer rallies and strategic play. Additionally, players are prohibited from volleying within the kitchen, a designated area on both sides of the net. Violating this rule results in the loss of the rally. Rallies can be lost through hitting out of bounds, allowing double bounces, or volleying in the kitchen.

Scoring Rules

Scoring in pickleball differs from other racket or paddle sports. Only the team that served can score a point, emphasizing the importance of maintaining control of serving throughout the game. Matches are typically won by achieving a best 2 out of 3 games, with each game played to 11 points. However, a 2-point margin is required to win a game, prolonging the excitement and potential for overtime.


Pickleball is a unique and enjoyable sport that offers a blend of skills and strategies from various racket and paddle sports. By understanding and following the rules, players can fully immerse themselves in the game and experience the thrill of competition. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned player, the simplicity of pickleball’s rules allows for quick learning and a smooth transition to full games. So grab a paddle and get ready to experience the fun and challenge of pickleball on the court.

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