Pickleball is an increasingly popular and fun sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis.
As with any sport, there are rules to follow to ensure the best possible playing experience.
This article will provide an overview of the top ten rules of pickleball every beginner should know to start their pickleball journey.
With its easy-to-learn ruleset and accessible equipment requirements, pickleball is a great way for people of all ages and skill levels to have some fun.
Whether you’re gathering a group of friends or just looking for something new to do alone, learning these essential rules can help maximize your enjoyment when playing this exciting game.
What Is Pickleball?
Pickleball has become one of the most popular sports in the United States, attracting millions of players of all ages. Invented in 1965 when three dads created a game to keep their children entertained on Bainbridge Island (near Seattle), pickleball combines elements from tennis, badminton and table tennis into an easy-to-learn fun sport for everyone.
Today, it’s common to find people playing pickleball at parks, recreation centers and beachfront courts.
Two or four players use wooden paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a low net that divides the court into halves to play pickleball. Points are scored by hitting the ball onto your opponent’s side so they can’t reach it with their paddle. Each team serves twice before switching sides, ensuring fairness as each team gets a chance to serve first.
Pickleball is fast-paced and exciting; no matter if you’re just starting out or already experienced, there are plenty of ways to ensure you have a great time while playing! With its simple yet dynamic ruleset, pickleball lets players get creative with their shots and strategies. Whether it be smashing the ball down the line or using spin to deceive opponents, every point brings something new – making it incredibly enjoyable for both beginners and experts alike!
To ensure fair gameplay between teams, however, some basic rules must be followed: these form the foundation of any successful match and help create an environment where everybody can thrive.
USA pickleball has laid out the rules of pickleball. You can check out their official page here.
For beginners, here are the rules you need to know before you play. The rest you will pick up as you go.
Rule #1: Serves Must Be Underhand
The first rule of pickleball you must know is to serve underhand.
A successful serve requires that the ball be hit with an underhanded motion, bounce once in your opponent’s court diagonally across to the opposing team, and not hit your serve higher than your waist. At least one foot must be outside the baseline.
The server may choose either side of their court for their first serve; however, they must alternate sides after each point is won.
In other words, if you served on one side during a rally or series of rallies, you must switch to the opposite side for your next serve.
It’s important to remember that when receiving the serve in pickleball, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning it back over the net.
This means that your opponent will receive two bounces from your serve: one when the ball initially reaches their court and another when they return it after letting it bounce in their court. This leads to the two-bounce rule, which we will get into later.
Rule #2: Alternate Serves
Serving is a unique aspect of the game and can be a bit tricky for beginners, but with just a few rules and tips in mind, you’ll have it mastered before you know it.
Let’s take a look at how to properly alternate serves in singles and doubles.
- The server must start from behind their right service court when playing singles
- In doubles, each team member must serve once before possession is turned over
- When your score is even, you serve from the right side; if odd, the left side
- Non-volley zone extends 7 feet out from the net on both sides
In doubles play, keeping track of the serving rotation can be difficult, so keep an eye on where your opponent’s starting server is located. Players are not allowed to enter the non-volley zone until after their first hit, or else they lose the point.
It’s important to remember that they win the game as soon as one team reaches 11 points with at least two clear points ahead (or 15 points with only one point ahead).
With these basic rules and guidelines about alternating serves in mind, you’re well on your way to mastering pickleball!
Rule #3: Calling Out The Score
When the score is even, meaning when the teams have an equal number of points, both players stand on either side of the net. The player that scored previously will serve from their respective service court and then alternate with each point thereafter until one team reaches 11 points (or 21 in some tournaments).
However, when the score is odd, it’s important to note who lost the last point so they can serve. This means a new server stands behind the baseline, ready to serve after scoring every point.
It’s also essential that all players at least understand which team was serving and what the current score is before each serve; otherwise, confusion can ensue quickly!
Call out the serving team’s score first, then your opponent’s score, then the server number (for doubles). For example, if your team is serving, you are the first server out of you and your partner and have three points, and your opponents have two points, before you serve, call out, “3-2-1!”
Rule #4: First-Serve One-Serve
The fourth pickleball rule is the First-Serve One-Serve or “First-server Exception.” This rule removes any advantage of serving first in a game by requiring that team only have one server and announce themselves as the second server before they serve. After their first losing rally, the ball will be turned over to their opponents.
When calling out the score at the start of a game, this should be done with “0, 0, 2” or, more commonly, “0, 0, Start.” Every player must remember this basic rule because it ensures no team has an unfair advantage during gameplay.
In addition to giving both teams equal chances when playing doubles, players must also let the ball bounce on each side after serves before hitting it back across the net. Failure to do so can result in points being taken from them if their opponent calls a fault on them.
To ensure everyone follows these rules and has fun while playing pickleball, all players should be aware of these four fundamental rules: serve and score correctly; identify yourself as the second server; let the ball bounce; and always follow basic court etiquette.
With these simple steps followed by all participants, friendly competition can begin!
Rule #5: The Two-Bounce Rule
The two-bounce rule is an important part of the pickleball rules that all players must follow.
This rule states that a team receiving the serve must let the ball bounce once in their court before returning it to the serving side; likewise, the serving side must then allow for one bounce in their service court as well when the ball is returned.
Therefore, this requires both teams to let the ball bounce twice in total before either can hit it without touching the ground (known as volleying).
Once the ball has bounced once on both sides of the pickleball court, you can play.
In addition, any shots taken from within 7 feet of the non-volley zone line (known as “the kitchen”) are considered illegal and result in a point loss.
These guidelines ensure fair play between both teams and keep games running smoothly.
Rule #6: Ways To Lose A Rally
It’s important to know the ways in which a rally can end.
Pickleball Central says approximately 25% of rallies are lost due to out-of-bounds shots or double bounces. The serving team must let the ball bounce before returning it, and if the return does not land within bounds, then a point is scored for their opponents.
Additionally, you cannot volley in the kitchen; if your shot lands there, it immediately loses that rally. “Stay out of the kitchen!”
Furthermore, games typically end at 11 points with a two-point margin, so each point matters!
Rule #7: The No-Volley Zone (The Kitchen)
Rule #7: The No-Volley Zone (The Kitchen)
Pickleball is a game of strategy and finesse. One key to pickleball success is learning the courts’ boundaries, specifically the no-volley zone or NVZ, which many players call “the kitchen.” This area extends 7 feet from each side of the net on both sides of the court and serves a critical purpose in maintaining fair and safe play.
Here are four important rules about staying out of the kitchen:
- If you volley while touching the kitchen line or standing inside the kitchen at any time, your team will lose that rally.
- You can enter or even stand in the kitchen during play but must let a ball hit the ground inside the kitchen before hitting it back; otherwise, it would be considered a volley.
- To hit a ball in the air, you must have your feet – and even your clothing and paddle – fully outside of the kitchen before hitting it.
- Serves are not allowed to touch or enter either the kitchen or its boundary line.
By following these simple rules, players help ensure that pickleball remains enjoyable for everyone involved! With this knowledge under their belts, beginners now know how to stay out of trouble when playing near — and within — the NVZ.
“Stay out of the kitchen!”
Rule #8: How To Score A Point
In pickleball, scoring a point is simple. The game ends at 11 points, and you must win by two.
When one team’s first server loses the serve, their opponents get an opportunity to serve and score.
The game ends when any team has reached 11 points with at least two more than the other.
A rally can be won by either hitting the ball into the non-volley zone (NVZ) on your opponent’s side of the court or forcing them to hit it out of bounds.
If you win a rally while serving, you automatically earn a point for your team.
Rule #9: No Ties
In singles play, the server serves first to start the game. It is a fault if they drop the ball while serving, and their opponent gets an automatic point.
This rule helps ensure that there are no ties in pickleball games; if both teams reach 10-10 during gameplay, someone must have a two-point advantage before the game can end. The only way for one team to gain a two-point lead is by winning consecutive points after reaching 10 apiece—which makes for some exciting overtime!
Paddle technique is important in ensuring that players don’t lose those crucial last few points. It’s also essential to avoid unforced errors when trying to achieve victory over your opponents.
Rule #10: Winning Games And Matches
The final rule of pickleball that all beginners should understand is how to win games and matches.
The first team or player wins a game in pickleball to reach 11 points, as long as they are at least two points ahead. If the score reaches 10-10, then a team must win by at least two points.
The rules of pickleball dictate that when serving in pickleball, each side may only have one serve per point until the game is over. After winning a game, teams switch sides and start another game with new serves from both players/teams.
To win the match, a team must win two out of three games – for example, if Team A wins 7-11 and Team B wins 9-11, then Team B would win the match because they took 2 out of 3 games.
Pickleball is played best when everyone understands the basic rules and regulations; following these top 10 basics will help any beginner get started in this fun sport!
Pickleball is unique and a sport that has grown in popularity over the years, and for a good reason. It’s an exciting game with simple rules that beginners can pick up quickly.
The Top 10 Rules of Pickleball Every Beginner Should Know are excellent starting points for those just getting into the game. Knowing these rules will ensure you have a great time playing pickleball, regardless of your skill level.
Playing pickleball requires strategy and physical agility; it’s not just about hitting shots to score points. As one experienced player said, “It’s like chess on a court.”
Knowing the essential rules such as serving underhand, alternating serves, calling out the score and understanding how to score points will help any beginner develop their game more quickly. Additionally, knowledge of the no-volley zone (the kitchen) allows players to maximize their offensive opportunities while limiting those of their opponents.
Overall, mastering the top ten rules of pickleball should give new players all they need to have fun and enjoy this challenging yet rewarding game. With practice and dedication, anyone can become an expert at pickup ball – so why wait? Get out there and show off what you’ve learned!