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How To Play Pickleball (for Beginners)

Pickleball has come onto the scene as one of the fastest-growing sports in North America. This guide will discuss the game, its history, rules, and more.

Pickleball Play Guide

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a mixture of tennis, pinball and badminton… but consists of its own unique rules. Unlike tennis, there is a non-volley zone near the nets where the ball must bounce before you hit it if in this zone. The net is 2 inches lower than a tennis Net and is 36′′′ at the ends and 34′′ in middle. If the dinked ball is hit wide the player can transfer it safely to another court without causing any damage. To win the game you should NOT be in the kitchen unless the ball gets caught – then you come in and catch the ball.

The Court

Pickleball is played on a 44′ x 20′ rectangular court. A low net divides the court into two halves.

There are two sidelines (orange lines), two baselines (orange lines), a centerline on each side (blue lines), and two non-volley lines (white lines) in Pickleball, which is lovingly referred to as the “Kitchen.”

Each side is divided into two service courts, the left service court and the right service court, by the centerline. This allows players to see where they should serve the ball and where they should stand while serving.

The Non-Volley Zone

The non-volley zone is the area of the court within 7 feet of the net on both sides.

Volleying is not permitted in the non-volley zone. This rule prohibits players from doing smashes while inside the zone.

It is a fault if a player steps on the non-volley zone, including the line, while volleying a ball, and/or if the player’s momentum forces them or whatever they are wearing or carrying to contact the non-volley zone, including the accompanying lines.

Even if the volleyed ball is pronounced dead before this happens, it is a fault if a player is carried into or touches the non-volley zone by momentum after volleying.

Any moment a player is not volleying a ball, he or she is legally in the non-volley zone.

“The kitchen” is the name given to the non-volley zone.

Pickleball scoring

The serving team is the only one who scores points.

Normally, games are played to 11 points with a two-point win.

Tournament games may be played to a score of 15 or 21, with the winner receiving a two-point bonus.

When the serving team’s score is even (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10), the player who served first in the game for that team will serve or receive on the right-side court; when the score is odd (1, 3, 5, 7, 9…), the player will serve or receive on the left-side court.

The “Five Rules of Pickleball”

Pickleball is identical to tennis but with a few differences. Learning all the rules of pickleball will provide you with a way to compete and get your learning fast. They are this: the ball needs to stay in the inbounds, the ball has to bounce every time one player is tossed around, serving must occur in the ground, serve can’t land in the no-volley zone.

Pickleball ends at 11, 15 or 21 points.

A traditional pickleball game ends at 11 points but the winning team must gain at least 2 points. Some games stretch the scores to 15. Some others reach 21. In solo play 11 or 15 are the most frequently given points totals in solo games. If play doubles 15 or 21 are the highest common points total for doubles matches. There were not too many differences for points based on totals based on how many teams play the game for the total of 11 points. It is worth noting that you can only score a point assuming that you served in a game of point-scoring.

Hit the ball inbounds

White lines on all courts dictate which way to hit the ball. Pickleball is unique in that it needs the ball to bounce between serving and returning serve. A fault allows the ball in the opposing team which is why pickleball is unusual. Even the 5.0 players seem to hit a lot of safety shots and allow their enemies to make the mistakes. The fewer mistakes you cause you’ll get better chances to win. Experts tell you if you make fewer mistakes you can easily win more games. How does a court for Pickled Balls happen at home?

The double bounce rule

The double bounce rule is by far the most important rule for pickleball. There must be an average of 1 bounce per second on this serve AND on the return of a serve. If the ball hit back three or more times your service will end. As long as the rule of two bounces is applied the ball can be placed in the air or moved between the sides. This rule applies in all sports single and doubles.

The ball can’t touch the No-Volley Zone during the serve

There is a No – Volley zone on both sides and one for each team. The line is the only place in this entire playing field that highlights regions. If the ball bounces and touches your line on the serve attempt, your serve gets cut off. You can then drop the ball to the kitchen area. This is called dropshot and is a signature shot at pickleball. Aiming at a baseline is a fundamentally winning tactic. Aiming the ball beyond the kitchen zone is easy to shoot when serving but also one of the hardest shots. Remember, there is only one serve attempt.

The serving team must follow serving guidelines

As long as you hit your serve in the right places and get your correct place, you shouldn’t get worried about losing points or giving them to the opposing team. In any service court, the player returning the serve must let the ball bounce before sending it to the opposite team’s side of the court.

What are faults?

Pickleball blunders are referred to as faults. In the middle of a rally, there are several big mistakes that might be made.

At the start of a rally, the ball must have bounced at least once on either side before hitting a volley.

Before being hit, the ball can bounce one time on either side. It’s a mistake if the ball bounces more than once.

It is a mistake to hit the ball out of bounds. Whether a ball is in or out on a line is determined by where the center of the ball meets the ground.

It is a fault if the ball is hit into the net.

Any play requiring you to hit a volley in the kitchen is a mistake.