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How to Play Pickleball

October 5, 2020
Pickleball paddles

Pickleball is a sport that is rising in popularity in the United States due to the short learning curve. This game is played on a rectangular 44’ by 20’ court that is divided into two sides using a low net.

On the court, there are two sidelines which are marked with orange lines and two baselines marked by orange lines, and a centerline on each side of the court marked with a blue line. There are also two non-volley lines, marked with white to create an area that is called the “kitchen.”

Matches in Pickleball

When playing pickleball, the matches are played the best two games out of three. Each game you play is played to eleven points, win by two. If you are playing one pickleball game, it is played to a score of fifteen points, win by two.

This game can be played as singles or doubles. Doubles is the most popular way to play. Whether you play singles or doubles, the rules are the same, but the scoring methods are slightly different.

Playing Pickleball

The game begins with a serve, with the player in the right of the service court being the first server. This is true whether it is the beginning of the game or on a side-out. Before the server begins, they have to call the score. For a pickleball serve, it must be done underhanded from the baseline, cross court, into the opposing team’s service court.

The serve is required to clear the net without landing in the kitchen. In some cases, the ball will hit the net but still land in the correct serving court, which is called a let. The server will have to redo the serve until the serve is completed correctly, the ball hits the net, or the ball is hit out of bounds. When the ball hits the net and lands in the kitchen, it is known as a fault.

Important Rules to Keep in Mind

  • When returning the serve, the player is required to let the ball bounce before returning it to the opposing team’s side in either of the service courts.
  • Follow the double bounce rule that states the ball must bounce once on each side before either team can start volleying the ball in the air.
  • The kitchen is a non-volley zone. This means that the players are not allowed to hit the ball while standing in the kitchen unless the ball has bounced on their side. Players are forbidden from entering the kitchen to volley the pickleball, and they are not allowed to enter the kitchen on a volley even if they are carried there by their momentum.

What is a Fault?

In the game of pickleball, a mistake is known as a fault. In the middle of a rally, there are several faults that can be made by players, these include:
Hitting a volley before the ball bounces at least once on a side when the rally begins, known as the double bounce rule.

The ball is permitted to bounce one time on a side before it is hit, but if it bounces more than once, it is a fault.

  • Hitting the ball out of bounds.
  • Hitting the ball into the net.
  • Any plays where a player steps into the kitchen to hit a volley.
  • Ready to Play on Your Own Pickleball Court?

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