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Pickleball Rules: Here are the Basics You Need to Know

Rules Training

Pickleball Rules: Here are the Basics You Need to Know

pickleball court line with ball next to fault line

If you’re new to pickleball, then you may be wondering what the rules are. Don’t worry, we’ll explain them to you in a way that is easy to understand. In this article, we discuss the basic pickleball rules that everyone should know. After reading this post, you’ll be ready to hit the courts and start playing!

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Pickleball is a fun sport that combines elements of Badminton, tennis, and table tennis. The game was created in 1965 but has gained immense popularity in recent years, becoming America’s fastest-growing sport. The love for the game is deepening and we’ve seen some sports superstars purchase major league pickleball teams recently. Some of them include; Kevin Love, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Tom Brady, and a few others.

Many Americans love pickleball, but not everyone knows the rules. Playing by the rules is essential to having a fun and fair game. Do you know all of the pickleball rules? If not, brush up on them so you can play your best!

1. The Ball Must Stay Within the Area of Play

Just like every other game, pickleball has an area of play, and the ball can not bounce outside that area of play. A pickleball court is similar to a badminton court, the regulation size of the court is 20 feet by 44 feet for both doubles and singles. It has a net in the middle with lines drawn across the court to demarcate the area of play such that the ball has to bounce within the area of play. The area of play is the same for singles and doubles.

2. The Two Bounce Rule

In pickleball, the two-bounce rule applies to a ball being served. When a ball is served it must bounce twice before a volley can be made. It must first bounce on the receiver’s side before they hit the ball and then it must bounce the second time on the server’s side before they return the ball. After that, either team can volley the ball (hit it before it bounces).

3. The Valid Serve Rule

In pickleball, there are two kinds of serves permitted; the volley serve and the drop serve. But in both kinds of services, the server must serve from behind the baseline, with a foot behind diagonally to the opponent’s service area.
Additionally, with both types of serves, there an overhand serve is not allowed. The ball must be struck underhanded and below the waist.
The volley serve is done when the ball is struck with your paddle without the ball touching the ground, the ball must be served with an underhand stroke below the waistline.
The drop serve is done when the ball is allowed to touch the ground before it is served diagonally to the opponent’s service area. This must also be performed with the paddle below the waistline.

4. Kitchen or Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) 

The kitchen pickleball rule is simple. You can not volley the ball while inside the NVZ (non-volley zone), also known as the “kitchen”. The kitchen is an area seven feet from each side of the net. This pickleball rule applies to both singles and doubles pickleball games.

5. Pickleball Net Rule

Like other net sports such as tennis, badminton, and volleyball, pickleball is played on a court that is divided in half by a net. Hitting the net during normal play or when serving is allowed and does not result in a fault. Before a rule change in 2022, this was not allowed. According to USA Pickleball rules, today when you serve, if the ball hits the net, net cord, or the rope that connects the net to the post, and the ball bounces in the correct service court, the ball is still in play. Hitting or grazing the net during normal play, as long as the ball crosses over the net, is allowed. Additionally, hitting around the net is also allowed.

6. Scoring Points

Points are scored by the server or serving team. Pickleball games are played to 11 points but just like tennis, the winner needs to win by at least 2 points. If it’s a tournament, the game could go on to 15 or 21 points, but there still needs to be at least a two-point win difference.
These pickleball rules are just the basics, but they should be enough to get you started playing pickleball. For more detailed information on pickleball rules, please consult a pickleball rulebook or ask a pickleball coach or experienced player. Now get out there and enjoy the game!


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