What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America. It is easy to learn, highly social, great exercise and accessible to people of all ages. There are levels of play related to your skill level, from 2.5 to 5.0, and many players find it exciting to improve their skills and climb ever higher up the pickleball ladder!

In a Few Words…

  • Pickleball is loads of fun!
  • Pickleball combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.
  • Games are played both indoors and outdoors on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net.
  • Pickleball equipment is portable – all you need is a paddle and a plastic ball with holes.
  • Pickleball can be played as doubles or singles.

How to Play Pickleball

Below is a video you can watch to learn more about how pickleball is played. If you are taking a pickleball class, we highly recommended you take a look to familiarize yourself with the game.

The Basics

Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court: 20’ x 44.’ The ball is served diagonally (starting with the right-hand service square), and points can only be scored by the side that serves.

Players on each side must let the ball bounce once before volleys are allowed, and there is a seven-foot no-volley zone on each side of the net to prevent “spiking.” The Server continues to serve, alternating service courts, until he or she faults. The first side scoring eleven points and leading by at least two points wins. Pickleball can be played with singles or doubles.

The Pickleball Serve

Serves are made diagonally, starting with the right-hand service square and alternating each serve. The serve must clear the seven-foot non-volley-zone in front of the net and land in the diagonal service court.

Serves should always be done underhand with the paddle below the waist, and the Server must keep both feet behind the back line when serving. The ball should be hit into the air without being bounced. The serving side will continue to serve until there is a fault on the service, at which point the service will be given to the opposing side. (However, if the ball touches the net but still lands within the appropriate service court, the serve may be taken over.)

The Server must keep both feet behind the back line when serving. The service is made underhand, with the paddle contacting the ball below the waist. The Server must hit the ball in the air on the serve. The Server is NOT allowed to bounce the ball and hit it off the bounce. The service is made diagonally cross-court and must clear the non-volley zone, including the line (a serve that hits the non-volley zone line is out). Only one serve attempt is allowed, except if the ball touches the net on the serve and lands in the proper service court; in this case, the serve may be taken over. At the start of each new game, the 1st serving team is allowed only one fault before giving up the ball to the opponents. After that, both members of each team will serve and fault before the ball is turned over to the opposing team. When the receiving team wins the serve, the player in the right-hand court will always start play.

Volleys

To volley means to hit a ball in the air without first letting it bounce. In pickleball, this can only be done when the player’s feet are behind the non-volley zone line (seven feet behind the net). Note: It is a fault if the player steps over the line on his volley follow-through.

Double-Bounce Rule

Also called the “Two Bounce Rule,” each team must play their first shot off of the bounce. That is, the receiving team must let the serve bounce, and the serving team must let the return of the serve bounce before playing it. Once these two bounces have occurred, the ball can either be volleyed or played off the bounce.

Fault

A fault is committed when the ball:

  • Touches any part of the non-volley zone on the serve (including the line)
  • Is hit out of bounds
  • Does not clear the net
  • Is volleyed from the non-volley zone
  • Is volleyed before a bounce has occurred on each side

Scoring

A team shall score a point only when serving. A player who is serving shall continue to do so until his/her team makes a fault. If playing doubles, each player on a team shall keep serving until their team makes a fault, then the serve moves to the opposing team – this is called a Side Out. The game is played to 11 points; however, a team must win by 2 points.