Pickleball may not be the most popular sport in the U.S. right now, but there’s no denying the profound craze for it.
If you’ve heard about this fast-growing sport and want to try it out, here’s all you need to know before you go to the court.
What is Pickleball?
Pickleball is a hybrid sport, meaning it was created by combining elements of other sports – traditional court tennis, table tennis (ping-pong), and badminton. It involves playing with a paddle and a whiffle-like ball, so it’s essentially a paddle sport.
Initially, pickleball paddles were made from nothing else but wood. These days, however, these paddles are mainly created using ultra-light composite materials like polymer, graphite, fiberglass, and aluminum.
Pickleball is increasingly gaining popularity in the U.S. and across the world because it can be played by people of all ages and skills. From the young and old to greenhorns and experienced players, everyone can take part in this fun sport.
Like many other internationally recognized sports, pickleball is a sport with official pickleball rules, and the rules of the game must be followed by each player.
Fortunately, the rules of pickleball are easy to understand, so anyone looking to play the game shouldn’t have a problem starting out.
Pickleball Rules: How to Play the Game
- Pickleball can be played by either singles or doubles teams on a badminton-sized court.
- The playing court may be located either indoors or outdoors.
- The rules guiding both singles and doubles are basically the same, although there may be some slight variations.
Pickleball Serving Rules
- For the action to start, one team must serve the pickleball. A serve is made when a player hits the pickleball with a paddle to bring the ball into play.
- The server (the player who serves the ball) must keep at least one foot behind the baseline and make the serve underhand.
- Service must be initiated from the right-hand service square of the court, and the ball should travel over the net and diagonally across the court, clear the no-volley zone, and land in the opponent’s service court.
- The receiving players are required to let the ball bounce off their service court once before returning it to the serving players. The serving team must also do the same. This rule is known as the double-bounce rule.
- From then on, players from both sides may hit the ball without letting it bounce (volleying the ball), but they can still play it off a bounce if they so wish.
Pickleball Scoring Rules
- Points can only be earned by the serving side.
- The first server keeps serving, while switching service courts, until they commit a fault.
- The first team to score a total of 11 points and lead the opposing team by two or more points is declared the winner.
A fault occurs every time the rules of the game are infringed in one way or another. A fault may occur when:
- The server hits the ball into the net instead of over it.
- The server hits the ball out of play.
- A serve does not land in the opponent’s service court.
- The ball is volleyed before it has bounced on both sides of the service court after the first serve.
- The ball is volleyed while one or both feet are stepping in the non-volley zone.
- The ball is allowed to bounce more than once before being hit.
The serving team earns a point every time the receiving team commits a fault. In a singles match, a server is only allowed to commit one fault after which they will lose the serve to their opponents.
If it is a doubles match, both players have one opportunity to serve. Thereafter, the opposing team takes over the serve.
What’s the non-volley zone? As you may have already guessed, this is the zone that players must not step on when they volley the ball. Doing so would result in violation of the rules, hence, lead to a fault.
A player may, however, rightfully be in the no-volley zone provided they do not volley a ball.
The no-volley zone is seven feet behind the net from both sides of the playing court, meaning it is 14 feet long on the entire court.
The primary reason why the no-volley zone exists is to minimize opportunities for smash volleys, making wins more reliant on proper shot placement.
Get Your Pickleball Equipment and Find a Court to Play
If you don’t want to miss out on the fun, all you need to do is to buy a net, a few decent-quality paddles, and a couple of whiffle balls to get started.
Thankfully, pickleball has gained a lot of popularity in the U.S., and many facilities, including sports clubs and community centers across the country now offer official pickleball courts for those who’d like to play. You can’t miss somewhere to play this exciting game!