What is Pickleball?
Basic Rules Overview
- Pickleball is played either as doubles (two players per team) or singles; doubles is most common
- The same size playing area and rules are used for both singles and doubles
- The serve must be made underhand.
- Paddle contact with the ball must be below the server's waist (navel level).
- The serve is initiated with at least one foot behind the baseline; neither foot may contact the baseline or court until after the ball is struck.
- The serve is made diagonally crosscourt and must land within the confines of the opposite diagonal court.
- Only one serve attempt is allowed, except in the event of a let (the ball touches the net on the serve and lands on the proper service court; let serves are replayed).
- Points are scored only by the serving team.
- Games are normally played to 11 points, win by 2.
- Tournament games may be to 15 or 21, win by 2.
- When the serving team's score is even (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10) the player who was the first server in the game for that team will be in the right-side court when serving or receiving; when odd (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) that player will be in the left-side court when serving or receiving
- The non-volley zone is the court area within 7 feet on both sides of the net.
- Volleying is prohibited within the non-volley zone. This rule prevents players from executing smashes from a position within the zone.
A pickleball court is the same size as a doubles badminton court and measures 20×44 feet. In pickleball, the same court is used for both singles and doubles play. The net height is 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches in the middle. The court is striped similar to a tennis court with right and left service courts and a 7-foot non-volley zone in front of the net (referred to as the "kitchen"). Courts can be constructed specifically for pickleball or they can be converted using existing tennis or badminton courts.
When playing pickleball, each player will need a pickleball paddle, which is smaller than a tennis racquet but larger than a ping-pong paddle. Originally, paddles were made only from wood, however today's paddles have evolved dramatically and are primarily made of lightweight composite materials,including aluminum and graphite. Players will also need a net and a pickleball. The ball itself is unique, with holes through it like a wiffleball and there are different ball models intended for indoor and outdoor play. The ball travels at 1/3 the speed of a tennis ball and is usually white or yellow in color. New bright color balls are also gaining in popularity.
Players wear just about anything comfortable… athletic shorts, sweatpants, polo shirts, t-shirts, etc. Tennis-style dresses and skirts for females are also common. Comfortable tennis shoes are also important. As for accessories, players may wear hats, visors, safety glasses, sweatbands and light jackets or sweatshirts for cold, outdoor play.