The Game of Pickleball: A Fun and Challenging Sport

Pickleball Rules: Master the Game with These Guidelines

Pickleball, a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, has gained tremendous popularity in recent years. Played on a smaller court with a paddle and plastic ball, this sport is suitable for players of all ages and skill levels. If you are new to pickleball or just want to refresh your knowledge of the rules, here is a comprehensive guide to help you become a pickleball pro.

In pickleball, both doubles and singles follow the same set of rules. The game starts with an underhanded and diagonal serve to the opponent’s service court without bouncing the ball off the court. Points are only scored by the serving side, and they are earned when the opponent fails to return the ball, hits it out of bounds, or into the net, among other faults.

To win, the serving side must score 11 points and lead by at least a 2-point margin. However, keep in mind that you must win by 2 points. After each serve, both sides must make at least one ground-stroke before volleying the ball (hitting it before it has bounced).

One crucial rule in pickleball is the non-volley zone, also known as the “kitchen.” Players are not allowed to volley the ball while standing within this zone. This rule prevents smashes from the net and adds an interesting strategic element to the game.

When it comes to serving, the serve must be underhand, and the paddle contact with the ball must be below the server’s waist. Additionally, the server must start the serve with at least one foot behind the baseline and cannot touch the baseline or court until after hitting the ball. The serve should be diagonal crosscourt and must land in the opposite diagonal court.

The serving sequence in doubles play allows both players on each team to serve until they commit a fault. However, the first service of each game is given to only one player from the initial serving team, with the service then passing to the other team. And every time service changes sides, the first serve must come from the right-hand court.

Scoring in pickleball is straightforward: points are only scored by the serving team, and games are usually played to 11, with a 2-point winning margin. Tournament games, on the other hand, may be played to 15 or 21, with the same requirement of winning by 2 points.

Another important rule to remember is the double bounce rule. After the ball is served, both the receiving and serving teams must let the ball bounce before returning it. However, after the initial two returns, no bounces are mandatory, and players can hit the ball with a ground stroke or a volley.

Volleying is not allowed within the non-volley zone. This zone, located within 7 feet of the net on both sides, is marked with a line on pickleball courts. Stepping into the non-volley zone or on the line while volleying is considered a fault. Players can be in the non-volley zone at any other time, as long as they are not volleying the ball.

Line calls also play a significant role in pickleball. Generally, balls contacting any line, except the non-volley zone line on a serve, are considered in. Serves contacting the non-volley zone line are short and result in a fault.

Faults occur in various situations, such as when a serve does not land within the receiving court, the ball is hit into the net on the serve or any return, or the ball is hit out of bounds. Violating service rules, volleying from the non-volley zone, or letting the ball bounce twice before striking it are also considered faults.

Determining the serving team is done through a coin toss, with the winner having the option to choose the side or to serve or receive. This adds a fair and unbiased start to every pickleball game.

Now that you are equipped with a solid understanding of pickleball rules, grab a paddle and head to the court. Enjoy the fast-paced action, strategic gameplay, and the friendly competitiveness that makes pickleball an exciting sport for everyone.

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