Pickleball is a sport that takes aspects from tennis, table tennis, and badminton and combines them into one game. The game can be played in singles or doubles (2-4 players). The players use a paddle to hit the ball back and forth between sides.
The court is the same size as a badminton court. It is divided into two sides with a net in the middle. A player stands on either side. If you are playing with doubles, the pair will split their side. On each side, there is a seven-foot no-volley zone where players cannot hit the ball from. The basic idea of the game is that the server will serve diagonally (alternating sides from their half of the court) until they miss the point. Only the serving team earns points. The game is played until one team scores eleven points and is leading by at least two points.
How to Serve
The server must stand with both feet behind the back line of the court. In order to serve the ball properly, the must hit it underhand and from below the waist. They are not allowed to serve the ball from a bounce. They must serve it from the air. The server must serve diagonally across the court to the opposite team. The serve is considered out if it does not pass the no-volley zone or if it goes outside the lines of the court. If the serve hits the net and ends up on the opposing side of the court, the server may take the serve again. At the start of each new game, the first serving team is only allowed one failed serve before they have to give the ball up to the opposing team.
To volley in Pickleball means to hit the ball from the air without it bouncing first. Players should be positioned in the middle of their sections of the court and move around to hit the ball. Players must be sure to stand behind the no-volley zone on the court for it to count. If the player crosses the line into the zone, the volley will not count and a point will be awarded to the opposing team.
Two Bounce Rule
This rule states that after the first serve, the players must allow the ball to bounce once before hitting the ball back to the other team. Effectively, each side allows one bounce. After the two bounces are complete, players are free to volley the ball as normal.
A fault made by one team is how another team is able to score. The faults in Pickleball are:
- The ball touches any part of the no-volley zone, including the line.
- The ball is hit out of bounds.
- The ball does not clear the net.
- A player volleys the ball from the no-volley zone.
- The ball is volleyed before a bounce has occurred on each side.
Only the serving team can score points. Points are made when any of the faults above are made by either team. The game is played to 11 points, but the winning team must lead by at least two points to win.
Playing With Doubles
If you are playing with doubles, the serving team should position themselves in line with each other behind the serving line. The returning team should have the player diagonal the server positioned behind the serving line, and the other player positioned right behind the no-volley zone. This is to give the ball space to bounce before the returning player hits it back. With one player in front and one behind, more of the court will be covered.
Serving With Doubles
The server to the right will always serve first. That initial server will continue to serve until a fault is made. After that, the second player will get an opportunity to serve. They will continue to serve until another fault is made. Once both servers get a fault, the ball is then given to the opposing team. After each point is scored, the server will switch sides of the court with their teammate.