If you’re reading this you’ve most likely heard of pickleball, so we won’t go into too much historical stuff! It’s enough to say it began in the 1960’s, is a sort of mixture of badminton, tennis and table tennis, and it’s becoming hugely popular in the USA – and in other parts of the world – because it’s easy to play and suitable for all ages. So, how do you play pickleball? That’s what we’re here to talk about, and to make it simple we’re going to explain briefly the 5 basic rules of pickleball. 

Are there really only 5 rules? If we’re honest, no, but once you know these five you can play a game to see if you enjoy it. The equipment is cheap – here are some inexpensive paddles for example – and it’s easy to learn. All you need is a best pickleball paddle, a perforated pickleball ball, a net and a badminton court chalked out on the floor, and that’s why it’s one of the fast growing sports in the USA. So, onto those rules, here’s number 1:

1. The Ball Must Stay Within the Court

Just as with badminton, tennis, and most racquet sports the ball must always stay within the bounds of the court if it is to remain in play. If it goes beyond the lines it will be called out and a fault is resulted. The ball usually goes back to the other team – only the serving team can score points – when this happens. 

2. Serving Regulations Must be Followed

Service plays an important part in pickleball so the following routine must be observed:

  • Toss a coin to decide who serves first (or which team if you are playing doubles)
  • The server must keep one foot behind the baseline and serve underarm from below the waist
  • The ball must be served diagonally to the opposite side of the net, as in badminton or tennis.
  • An incorrect serve means the ball goes back to the opposition.

3. The Two-Bounce Rule

An important rule that changes the very complexion of the game. On serve and on return of serve the ball must bounce – only once – on BOTH side of the net. Once the bounces have been completed, the players can keep the ball in the air. 

This rule is in place to ensure that the pace of the game is kept slower at the start, and that there are no major advantages to serving the ball. It makes for an easier game for older people to play and as playing sport can be important in keeping fit this is one reason why pickleball is popular with older people. 

4. No-Volley Zone 

The No-volley Zone sits 7-feet either side of the net. Your serve cannot go into the no-volley zone. If it does, that’s an immediate fault and the serve passes over. Also, players cannot enter this zone unless the ball – on a legal shot – lads in there. This is one of the more complex pickleball rules but it’s one you soon get used to.

5. The Game Ends at 11, 15 or 21 Points

In a standard game of pickleball the winners are the first to 11 points by two clear points. If there are not two clear points play continues until one player or team is clear. This can be extended to 15 or 21 points at the player’s discretion.

Pickleball is a great game for all the family, one that is fun and yet simple but also with some challenges. Check it out now and organize a game a court near you now that you know the rules!