If you're new to pickleball and eager to learn the basic rules of the game, you've come to the right place. Pickleball is a popular sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, and it's gaining popularity among players of all ages and skill levels. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the fundamental rules of pickleball, so you can start playing with confidence.
Court and Equipment
To play pickleball, you'll need a court that resembles a smaller version of a tennis court. The court is divided by a net, and there are two service areas on each side. You'll also need equipment such as a paddle, which is similar to a large table tennis paddle, and a plastic ball with holes, similar to a wiffle ball. Typically, pickleball is played in doubles, with two players on each team.
The game begins with a serve. The serving player must stand behind the baseline and serve the ball diagonally to the opponent's service court. The serve must be hit underhand and below the waist, and the paddle should contact the ball below the waist level. It's important to note that the serve must clear the non-volley zone, which is a seven-foot area on both sides of the net marked by a solid line. The serve must also land in the opposite diagonal service court. The serving team starts on the right side, and both teams take turns serving.
Return and Volley
After the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning it. Once the ball has bounced, both teams have the option to volley the ball, which means hitting it before it bounces. However, players must be careful not to step into the non-volley zone (also known as the "kitchen") while volleying. Stepping into the non-volley zone and hitting the ball results in a fault.
Pickleball uses a unique scoring system. Only the serving team can score points. If the serving team wins the rally, they earn a point, and the same server continues serving from the alternate service court. On the other hand, if the receiving team wins the rally, they gain the serve but do not score a point. The serving team's score is announced first, followed by the receiving team's score. Games are typically played to 11 or 15 points, with a two-point margin of victory.
Double Bounce Rule
In pickleball, the double bounce rule adds an exciting element to the game. According to this rule, both teams must let the ball bounce once on each side before volleying. This ensures fair play and promotes longer rallies. However, the double bounce rule only applies during the serve and the return of serve. Once the ball is in play, players can volley if they are not in the non-volley zone.
Faults and Let Serves
Pickleball has specific fault rules that players must follow. A fault occurs when a player fails to adhere to the rules of serving, steps into the non-volley zone during a volley, hits the ball out of bounds, or hits the net with the ball or the paddle. If a serve hits the net and lands in the correct service court, it is considered a "let" and is replayed without penalty.
Now that you have a solid understanding of the basic rules of pickleball, you're ready to step onto the court with confidence. Focus on your serving technique, remember the double bounce rule, and be mindful of faults and let serves. Pickleball offers a fantastic opportunity for socializing, staying active, and having fun. Grab your paddle, find a partner, and enjoy