The Essential Rules of Pickleball

The Essential Rules of Pickleball

Pickleball, a sport that wonderfully combines elements of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton, has become increasingly popular in recent years. It’s an engaging sport that people of all ages can enjoy. If you’re new to the game, let’s get you acquainted with the basic rules of Pickleball.

Rules of Pickleball

The rules in pickleball are pretty straightforward, which is one reason for the sport’s growing popularity. To get started, you’ll need a pickleball court, two to four players and some basic equipment.

  • Pickleball Court: A standard pickleball court measures 20 by 44 feet, with a center net that is 34 inches in height at the sidelines and 36 inches in the middle.
  • Players: Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles, with two players on each side of the court. Often referred to as “The Dink Game”, pickleball is a sport that promotes socializing, making it ideal for both competitive and recreational players.
  • Equipment: All you need is a pickleball paddle, which looks like an oversized ping-pong paddle, and a plastic pickleball ball. The paddles come in various sizes and weights, so make sure to choose one that feels comfortable for you.

Here are the basic rules of pickleball you need to know:

Serving Rules

  • Who Serves First? – The team that wins the coin toss or other form of random choice gets to serve first. The player on the right side of the court serves first.
  • How to Serve – The serve must be made underhand, with the paddle below the waist, and the ball hit into the air before it is struck. The server strikes the ball diagonally, aiming for the service area on the opponent’s side.

In-Play Rules

  • Non-Volley Zone – Also known as “the kitchen,” this is a 7-foot zone on both sides of the net where volleying (hitting the ball before it bounces) is not allowed. Players can only hit the ball in this zone if it has bounced first.
  • Double-Bounce Rule – When the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning it, and then the serving team must also let it bounce before returning it, hence the term “double-bounce.”

Scoring Rules

  • Points – Points can only be scored by the serving team and when the opposing team faults (fails to return the ball, steps into the non-volley zone etc.). A game is usually played to 11, 15 or 21 points.
  • Switching Sides – Teams switch sides after the first team reaches 6 points in a game to 11, or 8 in a game to 15 or 21, and when one team has won two games in a best-of-three match.

Remember, the best way to learn is by playing and having fun! Don’t worry if you make mistakes at first. With practice, you’ll become a pro in no time. Happy playing!

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