pickleball rules

Pickleball Rules by US Pickleball Association | Basic rules to learn

The US Pickleball Association has laid down pickleball rules that must be followed to play this sport.  Although the pickleball game is a mix of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, it has its own unique official rules that set the game apart.  Despite its newness, it is the fastest-growing sport in America. 

If you are new to the game knowing some rules for beginners is essential to get a hold of the game. Like any other sport, the USA Pickleball has laid clear guidelines and a proper way to play pickleball. This includes, there are specific court dimensions, rules about scoring, the serve of the game, how points are scored, how to volley the ball, and NVZ rules. To enjoy the game, it is best to start with some of the basic rules mentioned here in this blog. And practice with these rules in mind is the best way to play the game.

Following as some basic rules and regulations of Pickleball and rules that you need to keep in mind next time you play pickleball.

pickleball rules

Format of Pickleball Game 

Pickleball is played either in a single or double game and has two or four players respectively. It is played with a paddle and a ball with tiny holes in it. This makes the ball less bouncy.  A game is played until a team score 11 points and to win the game a pickleball team or player must be 2 points ahead of the other team. After the first serve of the game, the rally starts until the serving team commits a fault, then the serve will go to the opposite team and they will play the game.

Pickleball Court and Pickleball Line Rules

Pickleball courts dimensions are 44 X 20 and a net in the middle that is placed at a height of 36 inches on the side and 34 inches in the centre. The net in the centre divides the court into two equal halves.  There are two sidelines, two baselines a Central line, and two non-volley lines. The Central line divides the court into two service areas i.e., the left side of the court and the right side of the court. 

Line rules in Pickleball are as follows:

  1. Lines are a part of the court if a ball is on the line, it means the ball is within a court. 
  2. The kitchen line is part of the NVZ or the Kitchen, and hence same rules apply like no Volley while standing or touching the line. When your paddle or feed touches the Kitchen line, then it is a fault. 

5 Rules of Pickleball Serve

All pickleball games start with a Serve. The purpose of the serve is to start the game without making it offensive. There are different rules about Serve:

  1. The first serve in pickleball is always hit from behind the baseline on the right side of the service area.
  2. Each player gets one serve. 
  3. The serve must clear the net and should not land in the pickleball Kitchen or NVZ. 
  4. A Pickleball player should serve diagonally to the opponent standing on either the left-side or right-side service area. 
  5. A serve must be underhand and below the waist area and while a player hits the ball the arm must go up in an arc.

If you are new to the game, start with the serve shot.

pickleball rules

Double Bounce pickleball rules 

One basic rule in Pickleball is the Double Bounce rule, which states that the ball must bounce once on each side of the court before the pickleball player starts volleying. 

Each team must let the ball bounce so there is no unfair advantage. The Two-bounce rule and Double-bounce rules are the same things as the US Pickleball Association used the term two bounce rules from 2018 onwards. 

Pickleball Doubles 

Singles Pickleball game and doubles pickleball are played on the same court, but serve rules and serve switches are different in a doubles game. 

In doubles, Scoring in Pickleball is a three-digit number. Like 0-0-2. The first is the Server score, the second is the receiver score and the third number is the Serve number.

Watch this video to understand Pickleball Doubles Scoring and basic pickleball rules that you must know when you play a doubles game. 

 Rally, Faults in Pickleball, and Scoring Rules in Pickleball

  • After a serve rally i.e., back and forth game continues till a fault is committed
  • Rally is lost when the ball goes outbound, Kitchen rules are violated, and the ball bounces twice before it is hit.
  • The ball must land inside the opponent’s court, an outbound ball is a fault and your opposite team wins a point.
  • Don’t let the ball bounce twice before you return it, it will be a fault to hit a ball if it bounced twice. This bounce twice is different than the double bounce or two-bounce rule. 
  • Volley in the kitchen or non-volley zone is not allowed. 
  • A fault is when a team loses a rally which wins a point for the opposing team
  • Side out when a team loses a serve and the opposing team gets to service 
  •  The serving team earns the points and the game continues till a team earns 11 points. To win a game, the other team has to win by 2 points. 
  • Only the Serving team earns points until they commit a fault.

Volley and Non-Volley Zone Rules 

  • In the Non-volley Zone, also called the Kitchen area, a Volley is not allowed.
  • While in the kitchen, let the ball bounce first and then hit the ball.
  • When a serve hits the kitchen, it is a fault. 
  • Touching the Kitchen area or kitchen line with your paddle, shoes, arms, or any other object is considered a fault.
  • Dropping personal belongings in the NVZ while a volley shot is also a violation of the rules of the game.
  • Coming in contact with your partner standing in the NVZ or NVZ lines, is also a violation. 

Pickleball may be a new sport, but it is gaining popularity among age groups because it is easy and fun to play. The rules of the game are fairly simple once you know and practice the game, in no time anyone can master it. As a beginner, everything you need to know about the game can be summed up in these basic rules of pickleball: each player gets an opportunity to serve, you cannot volley the ball when you’re standing in the Kitchen, Volleying is allowed only after two-bounce criteria is fulfilled. The game is played to an 11-point score and Games ends when the winning team is 2 points ahead. Pickleball is a great sport when done right, so learn pickleball rules and enjoy! 

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