How to Play Pickleball
Go to our Pickleball Scoring page to learn how to keep score.
Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the USA, in part because it has a very short learning curve. Watch this video for an introduction on how to play Pickleball.
Pickleball is played on a rectangular 44’ by 20’ court. The court is divided into two sides by a low net.
There are two sidelines (orange lines), two baselines (orange lines), a centerline on each side (blue lines), as well as two non-volley lines (white lines), which creates an area affectionately called the “Kitchen” in Pickleball.
The center line divides each side into two service courts, the left service court and the right service court. This allows players to know where to serve the ball and where to stand when serving.
Matches are played best two games out of three. Each game is played to eleven points, win by two. Or if you are playing one game, it is played to fifteen points, win by two.
Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles, with doubles being the most popular. Singles and doubles are played following the same rules with slightly different scoring methods.
How to Play
The start of a game begins with a serve. The player standing in the right service court is always the first server, whether at the the beginning of a game or on a side-out. Before serving the server must call the score. For more information on scoring check out our Pickleball Scoring video.
A Pickleball serve must be hit underhanded from behind the baseline cross court into the opposing team’s service court. The serve must clear the net and not land in the kitchen. Sometimes the ball will hit the net but still land in the correct serving court. This is called a let and the server must redo his serve until he either serves correctly, hits the ball into the net, or hits the ball out of bounds. If the ball hits the net and lands in the kitchen, it is a fault.
The Double Bounce
An important rule in Pickleball is the double bounce rule. The double bounce rule says the ball must bounce once on each side before either team may start volleying the ball in the air.
The Return of Serve
The player returning the serve must let the ball bounce before returning it to the opposing team’s side in either service court.
A unique but important aspect of Pickleball is the non-volley zone, also known as the Kitchen. Players may not hit the ball while standing in the kitchen unless the ball has already bounced on their side. Players may not step into the kitchen to volley the Pickleball. Players may not enter the kitchen on a volley even if their momentum carries them into the zone.
In Pickleball mistakes are called faults. There are several major faults that can be made in the middle of a rally.
- Double-Bounce Rule: Hitting a volley before the ball has bounced at least once on a side at the beginning of a rally.
- The ball can bounce one time on a side before being hit. If the ball bounces more than once, it is a fault.
- Hitting the ball out of bounds is a fault. Where the center of the ball touches the ground determines whether a ball is in or out on a line.
- If the ball is hit into the net, it is a fault.
- Any plays involving stepping into the kitchen to hit a volley is a fault.
The main gist of Pickleball is to hit the ball back and forth until someone makes a mistake. It is really that simple. Check out our other videos to learn more about the Pickleball epidemic taking over America.