How To Play Pickleball Like a Pro

We all know that staying active is extremely important at any age, and luckily, we’ve learned a sport that people of any age can play for exercise and for fun. Have you heard of or played the popular game of pickleball yet? If not, and you have no clue what we’re talking about, then keep on reading to learn about one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.

Pickleball is a little bit like tennis and badminton, but it does have its own rules and regulations. It can get a little tricky to keep track of all of these things, especially if you’re a beginner, which is why we’ve put together this easy-to-follow rulebook if you will.

Read even further to learn the basics of pickleball, what the ground rules are, what to wear for pickleball, and how to be the most prepared for this fun game and hobby. We promise you’ll get the hang of it and have a blast doing it.

How To Play Pickleball: The Basics

Before we get started with explaining how to play pickleball, there are some interesting pieces of information regarding pickleball that we’d love to share. These are things that are fun to know and will help you understand the game we’re talking about before diving in to become a pickleball player yourself.

Just like we mentioned, the game of pickleball is a mix of the games tennis, badminton, and also ping pong. What we mean by this is that the rules of pickleball are kind of an amalgamation of those three games.

Another fun fact about the game’s origin is that the original founder’s dog named Pickles used to chase after the ball as the game was being played! Thus came the name, pickleball. How cute is that?

Ground Rules

Once you learn the rules and have played a couple of rounds of pickleball, you’ll be a natural and won’t have to think hard about all the basics. However, there are a few of these rules that are slightly more unusual than other games, so let’s give them a quick lookover.

First things first: note that pickleball can be played either as a doubles game or singles game, and the same rules go for both.

Pickleball Strategy: Serving

When serving to the opposing team, the server must do so underhand in an upward arc motion. The pickleball paddle must make sure the ball hits at or below waist level, and the head of the paddle cannot be above the highest part of the wrist when hitting the ball.

You can perform a drop serve, in which case the above rules don’t apply. When serving, the server's feet cannot be within the tennis court or badminton court, and at least one foot must be behind the baseline of the court. The serve will be made diagonally across the court and must be kept within the court on the other side. Each server gets one serve attempt only.

Serving Sequence

There are also rules to know about the serving sequence. Read below to get all the facts about this.

  • When playing doubles, each player on the doubles team has a chance to serve until they commit a fault.
  • The first serve of any side is made on the right side of the court.
  • When a point is scored, the server will switch sides and make another serve from the left side of the court.
  • When the first server loses, the serve partner will serve from their correct side of the court.
  • In a game of singles, the server serves the ball from the right side, even when their score is even from the left when the score is odd.

How Do You Score Points?

The pickleball scoring system used in tournaments and everyday games isn’t too complicated. Points are only scored by the team that is serving. The game usually goes to 11 points and must be won by two points. If you’re playing more seriously, you can play to 15 or 21, and still must be won by two points.

When the serving team’s score is even, the first server of that team will be on the right court when they’re serving or receiving, and on the left court if their score is odd.

Two Bounce Rule

The double bounce rule rule just means that when the ball is served, it must bounce before returning from and back to the server. Once the ball bounces, the ball can either be volleyed or played off a bounce.

Non-Volley Zone

The no-volley zone is a seven-foot radius on either side of the net. This zone prevents players from volleying too close to the other court. You will receive a fault if you step into the non-volley zone while and after volleying the ball.

You can legally be in the non-volleying zone at any time when you are not volleying the ball. Another term for this zone to know is the kitchen line.

Line Calls and Faults

If the ball contacts a line on the court, other than the non-volley zone, it is considered in. If a serve hits the line of the non-volley zone, it is a fault.

  • A fault is anything that violates a rule.
  • A fault made by the receiver gives one point to the serving team.
  • A fault by the server causes them to lose the serve.

Be Prepared

Now that you know the basic rules of the game, it’s time to get your gear and your team together to play this fun game. Our favorite way to get prepared is to make sure we have the right comfortable clothing to wear during the game.

You can, of course, wear whatever you’re most comfortable playing sports in, but you can make sure you’re even more ready to play by sporting some jogger style swim shorts that are breathable and stylish. A good swim skirt will ensure that you’re ready to move around the court all day without worrying about an uncomfortable pair of bottoms.

Go neutral with a pair of white woven board shorts that will match anything else you wear or rock some color as you get on the court. You can also always enjoy the game wearing a jersey romper cover up, especially if you’ve just gone from the pool to the court. Whatever you choose to wear, you’re now ready to pack a water bottle, gather a team, and stay on the pickleball court.


Learn to Play Pickleball | Winona Tennis Center

Rules Summary | USA Pickleball

How to Play | PlayPickleball