PICKLEBALL Game Rules and How to Play Guide

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In this article, I will introduce you to the basic rules of game Pickleball and show you how to play. The object of the game is to be the first player or team to have at least 11 points and you must win by 2 points.


Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court 20 feet by 44 feet. The net is 36 inches high and divides the court down the center of the short side of the court. Nearest the net, each side has a 7-foot non-volley zone called the kitchen. Beyond the kitchen, the rest of the court is divided into two equal sections. These are called the right and left service areas.

Each player uses one pickleball paddle and the game is played with one regulation pickleball ball. Take note that the ball used will be different for indoor play than outdoor. Players on the same side are on the same team.

Pick a side to serve the ball first. Serves must be made diagonally starting behind the right-hand service area and alternating each serve. The server must keep both feet behind the back line when serving.

To serve, call out the score then you must drop the ball with one hand and hit it with the paddle with an underhand swing below your waist. The ball must be hit in the air, it may not be bounced then hit. The balls first bounce must be in the diagonally opposite service area on the opponent’s side of the court. The serve may not land in the opponent’s kitchen or the kitchens line, if it does it is a fault. Only one server tempt is allowed. Except, if the ball touches the net on the serve and lands in the proper service area. In this case, the serving is retaken.


At the start of each new game. The first serving team is allowed only one fault before giving up the service to the opponents. After that, both members of each team will serve and fault before the ball is turned over to the opposing team. When the receiving team wins the serve, the player in the right-hand Court will always start with the serve.

Each time the ball enters your side of the court your side is allowed one bounce and one hit to get the ball back over the net to the opponent’s side. A player on your side is not allowed to hit the ball twice, have both players hit the ball, hit it into the net, hit it out of bounds, fail to get the ball over the net, or let the ball hit your side twice before you hit it. If you do then your fault.

After the service, there is a double bounce rule that requires both teams to let the ball bounce once on their side before they can hit it. A volley means to hit the ball while it is in the air without letting it bounce first.

After the first bounce on your side, you may volley anywhere on the court except the kitchen. You are not allowed to step into the kitchen even after a follow-through or it is a fault. The only exception is if the ball first bounces in the kitchen then you can enter the kitchen and hit it but you must immediately leave the kitchen after doing so or it is a fault. You may never volley in the kitchen. A team scores one point when it is their service and their opponent’s faults. After a fault, the server switches sides to serve from.

1v1 and 2v2

In a one verse one, the opponent’s which is receiving sides two. In two verse two, only the server and his teammate switch sides further serve, their opponents stay where they are. The server continues serving until his team makes a fault.

In a 1v1 and the very first serve of the game, after one fault the server switches to the opposite right service area. In a 2v2 after the very first serve of the game, after the server-side faults, the server and teammates stay where they are and the teammate becomes the server. At the next fault possession of the surface changes.

To call out the score when serving in a 1v1 simply say the number of points you have followed by the number of your opponent. For example five-two. To call out the score in a 2v2 you must add a number to the back of the score and say a total of three numbers. The last number is either a 1 or a 2. This indicate if you are the first server or the second server for your team.

When your team games the service if you are the first to serve, you are number one, even if you were not the number one last serve. If after your team faults you serve then you are number two even if you weren’t number two last serve.


For example, the first server might say one five one, the first one is his team score the five is the opponent’s score and the last one is his server position. If the server hits the ball out of bounds on his serve the possession of server changes. The next server says one five-two. The first one is his team score, the five is the opponent score and the two is the server position.

The only exception to the scoring is for the very first serve of the game. Then you call out zero-zero start. This indicates that this service is the first of the game so you know when the service lost that it goes to the other side. The first team to reach 11 points wins, but you must win by two.

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