Pickleball Rules

September 30, 2022
Read Time:5 Minute, 53 Second

If you’re a beginner in the world of pickleball, then you probably don’t know much about pickle rules. Don’t worry— we’ve got you covered! 

This sport is a hybrid of badminton, tennis, and ping pong. It’s played in an area half the size of a typical tennis court. The game doesn’t require as much running as tennis or ping pong, but the pace is faster than badminton or tennis because players use a small ball and pads to hit the ball towards each other. 

What makes it more attractive is its easy-to-learn support; you can play it indoors and outdoors— meaning no bad weather will interrupt your hyped game session! And what’s more? It has fantastic health benefits too! 

However, just like any other game, pickleball also has a set of rules that you need to follow to ensure a fair game. 

Don’t know the rules for pickleball? Worry no more! We’ve discussed everything in detail to guide you on the basics of official Pickleball rules. So, sit back, relax, and read further! 

Pickleball Rules Summary―Briefly Explained

You can play pickleball in singles or doubles, but the rules don’t change with the number of players.

Pickleball Rules - Pickleball singles and doubles 1024x768

Here is the summary of official Pickleball game rules: 

Serve Rules: 

  • One person can only attempt one server attempt. If it fails, the Ball goes to the opponent, making the first shot. 
  • When the Ball is smashed with a paddle, the server’s feet shouldn’t go beyond the baseline around the playing area or court. 
  • The server’s arm should be upward when the Ball strikes the paddle.
  • The server shouldn’t make the paddle contact with the Ball above the waist.
  • During contact, your pickleball paddle shouldn’t be above the top part of the wrist
  • You should hit the Ball diagonally so it can land on the opponent’s side without restriction.

Serving Sequence Rules:

Pickleball Rules - Serving Sequence Rules
  • If a continuous score happens, the servers on both sides keep switching until any mistake or fault happens. 
  • If you are a server, you can continue serving if there’s no fault from your side or teammate. However, the service goes to the opposing team when you miss the Ball or make a mistake.
  • Players on both sides are allowed to play and score until any of both commit a fault.
  • The first shot is always made from the right side of any court, and if the point is scored, the next shot is played by the left side
  • When the service goes to the opponents, the first shot is played by the even or right player.
  • The score is 0-0 at the start of the game before any serving. Then the side serving first gets the chance for one mistake before their side is out, indicating that their opponents can serve next. After that first mistake, each side gets the chance for 2 mistakes (once for each player serving) before one ‘s side is “out.” 
  • For singles, the player does service from the court when their score is even and off when the score is odd. 

Scoring Rules for the Pickleball Game Play

Pickleball game scoring is similar to ping-pong scoring in that teams or players must reach 11 points and be ahead by two points. For instance, when the score becomes 10-11, the players must continue playing until one of them is ahead by two points. 

To learn more about the scoring rules, read our detailed guide here.

Basic Pickleball Rules for Everyone

Whether you are a beginner or professional player, here are the five rules for Pickleball that you must know: 

Ball Should be Inbound: 

Pickleball Rules - Pickleball ball should be inbound 1024x768

Like tennis or badminton, you shouldn’t throw the Ball out of the boundary. This boundary is identified by the white chalk spread around the court. If your Ball lands out of the boundary, you will give the service to the opponent team in any circumstances. So, to keep playing, ensure you abide by this pickleball game rule. 

Ball Should Bounce Once: 

Pickleball Rules - Pickleball ball should bounce once 1024x768

Here comes one of the most unique yet basic pickleball rules. The players on each side should let the ball bounce once before playing. For further clarity, if the opponent has made a throw to your side, you shouldn’t hit the Ball unless it has completed one bounce. After that, both sides can continue playing the game either in the air or fast. 

Hit the Ball Below the Waistline: 

You should hit the Ball so that the paddle doesn’t go above your top wrist and is under the waistline. Moreover, the throw should be diagonal and not direct. It’s because direct throw and a shot played above the waistline are considered faults and illegal in Pickleball. 

Pickleball Rules - Pickleball Hit the Ball Below the Waistline 1024x768

No Entrance in the No-Volley Zone:

Pickleball Rules - No Volley Zone

The No-Volley zone (also known as Kitchen) is the 7 feet area around the net, and players or servers aren’t allowed to enter this zone unless the opponent hasn’t played deep enough. Therefore, you should ensure your throw is behind this zone and deep enough not to invite the opponent near you, which may benefit them. 

11 Points Rule: 

You should play the game for a maximum of 11 points, and if you have a lead of 2 points at that stage, you are the winner. However, tournaments may go beyond this with 15 points. 

New Pickleball Rules You Should Know in 2022

New rules are added to the game every year to make it more appealing. Here are a few of these new pickleball rules: 

No Headphones or earbuds:

Pickleball Rules - No Headphones

This rule is introduced to prevent players from carrying any audio transmission device as the player may use these to receive match coaching during tournaments. 

No Ball Spinning: 

Until 2021, players experimented with spinning on their Ball, which may cause the Ball to go faster or knock upside down. This was banned in 2022 by the US Pickleball Rules Association. 

Extra Balls:

Players are not allowed to carry different Balls in official matches as it may result in distraction or misleading. However, carrying an extra ball is not an issue in social plays. 

FAQs about US Pickleball Rules

What is a “dink” in pickleball?

Dink in pickleball refers to the shot played in an upward trajectory, and with a bounce, it lands into the opponent’s No-Volley zone. 

The 10-second rule – What is it in pickleball?

This rule means that after a score, the next player can take 10 seconds for their serve.

Is that allowed to hit overhand in pickleball?

Yes, one can play overhand in pickleball. However, if you are the one making the first serve, then you cannot play overhand.

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Hey, fellow pickleball player!

My name is Ethan Josephson. I am a pickleball enthusiast who has been playing this fantastic game for more than 5 years. Before that I had almost 20-years-experience with tennis and table tennis, but pickleball fascinated me completely.