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 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.
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 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.
Like most games, it might seem a little confusing at first, or it might not. Either way, 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.
Rule One: The Ball Can’t Go Out of Bounds
Like a regular court for, say, tennis, there are white lines on the edges of the court itself. To put this rule simply, the ball cannot be hit outside of those white lines. 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 unique to pickleball is that you can only score points if you are the one serving.
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.
Rule Two: Follow Serving Regulations
The way you serve the ball is important. 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, or a fault, then the next serve will go either to your teammate or the opposing team.
Rule Three: The Two Bounce Rule
This rule is what it sounds like. In pickleball, the ball can only bounce once per serve. If it bounces twice, you’ll lose 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 this, either side can hit the ball from the air or let it bounce.
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, you can’t play what’s called a “drop-shot” which is hitting the ball inside the no-volley zone.
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 athletic shorts, t-shirts, and clothes that are moisture-wicking since this game is played frequently in the warmer seasons.
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 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!