Rules of Pickleball Players Must Know

The game of pickleball has been gaining popularity over the past couple of years, and we can see why. If you haven’t played it before, it’s a game similar to tennis and ping-pong that involves paddles, balls, and a court. Interested in learning more?

We’re going to lay out the ground rules for this fun game and even tell you what you should wear to stay comfortable during a game. Pickleball is an excellent way to stay active and is also the perfect time to socialize. Grab your paddles and your friends and get playing.

Before we jump into all the rules of the game, we thought it’d be important to fill you in on the layout of the court first. Let’s get started.

The Layout

A pickleball court is the same size as a badminton court, which is 20’ x 44’. If you’re familiar with playing tennis, you’ll be set up in a similar way: one team on one side, and the opposite team on the other side, with a non-volley zone line on the sidelines and net in between. This non-volley zone prevents anyone from “spiking” the ball.

You can play a single or doubles game of pickleball. The winning team must reach 11 points and be ahead by at least two points.

Does it sound like fun yet? Now let’s get to what’s really important: the rules of the game.

The Basic Rules of Pickleball

Like most games, the rules of pickleball might seem a little confusing at first. We promise that once you learn the rules and start actually playing, it’s easy to get the hang of and is fun for everyone who gets involved. That being said, here are the main rules of pickleball.

Pickleball Rule One: The Ball Can’t Go Out of Bounds

Like a regular court for, say, tennis, there are white lines on the left side and right hand side of the court itself. To put this important rule simply, the ball cannot be hit outside of those white lines on the sides of the net. If you do hit your ball out of bounds, you will either lose that serve or will forfeit the ball to the opposing team.

Another fault can be made if the ball is hit into or under the net. When this happens, the ball is given to the other team. What makes this serving rule unique to pickleball is that you can only score points if you are making a serve attempt.

To be safe and to strategize a win, try to make as few faults as possible. If you leave faults to be made by the other team, you’ll have more of a chance of winning.

Pickleball Rule Two: Follow Serving Regulations

The way the service sequence goes in pickleball is imporrtant. You’ll start by letting chance decide which team serves first, either by a coin toss or another randomized way. Next, you have to make sure that the ball is held underhand and below the waistline. To make sure you’re at the correct distance, keep one foot behind the baseline.

You will hit the ball diagonally across the court and will start from the right side of the court. If you make an error serving from right hand court, or a fault, then the next serve will go either to your teammate or the opposing team.

Pickleball Rule Three: The Two Bounce Rule

The double-bounce rule is what it sounds like. In pickleball, the ball can only bounce once per serve. If it bounces twice, the serving team loses the serve. Basically, you’ll want to make sure that the ball bounces once when you serve to the other side, and that you let it bounce once before hitting it when it comes back your way.

This rule applies to the first serve of the game. After the first server makes the move, either the serving team or the receiving team can hit the ball from the air or let it bounce.

Pickleball Rule Four: The Ball Can’t Touch the No-Volley Zone During the Serve

For each team, there is a seven-foot space from the net that is known as the no-volley zone. Also known as the kitchen line, you’ll be able to tell where it is because it’s highlighted on the court. You can’t go inside the no-volley zone while playing unless the ball bounce is in that zone.

Players must serve the ball past this zone. However, after the serve, the second server can’t play what’s called a “drop-shot” which is hitting the ball inside the no-volley zone.

Pickleball Rule Five: The Game Ends at 11, 15, or 21 Points

Usually, pickleball will end at 11 points, but only if the winning team is two points ahead. So, if the opposite team is at 10 points, the game will continue until 15 is reached and so on until the winning team is the correct number of points ahead.

The other rule associated with points is that when the game of 11 reaches six points, the teams switch sides. If you’re playing to 15 or 21 points, you’ll switch sides once one team reaches eight points.

What To Wear To Play Pickleball

Pickleball is usually played outdoors, which means you’ll be exposed to the sun and heat. It’s normal to show up to a game wearing any type of activewear you feel most comfortable in. Most people wear tennis skirts or athletic shorts, t-shirts, and clothes that are moisture-wicking since this game is played frequently in the warmer seasons.

If you’re playing pickleball in the summer months, you can easily transition from the beach or pool to the pickleball court. If you’re planning on playing pickleball after spending time in the pool, make sure to pack a transition outfit with a tunic or romper cover-up.

In addition, you can always repurpose swim skirts, board shorts and other types of swim shorts as pickleball apparel! You can always slip back into a tunic cover-up after playing.

You should also be sure to wear comfortable athletic shoes, and maybe even a hat and sunglasses to stay comfortable in the sun. As always, don’t forget the sunscreen.

Ready To Play

By now, you’re ready to hit the court with your pickleball paddle. Pickleball is a fun game for any person of any age, so grab your friends and family and challenge them to a round or two. This game is an awesome way to get moving in the spring and summer, and we can’t wait to get out there ourselves. Have fun!


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