Pickleball

Pickleball FAQ

Pickleball FAQ
Published: 2023-08-23
5/5 Average rating
Please sign in in order to rate the blog.

WHAT IS PICKLEBALL?

A fast growing and fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It is played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net. Players use a paddle and a plastic ball with holes. The game is played as doubles or singles. 

Learn more here: What is pickleball 

 

WHAT ARE THE PICKLEBALL RULES?

A pickleball game starts with one player standing behind the baseline to serve the pickleball to a player on the opposite diagonal side of the court.  A few other rules are unique to pickleball, including the two-bounce rule described in this summary of pickleball rules.

 

HOW TO START PLAYING PICKLEBALL?

Pickleball combines elements of badminton, tennis, dodgeball, paddle tennis, and ping pong. It has a whimsical name that invokes the fun spirit and social aspect that brings players to the courts for hours at a time. Here are a few tips before you choose to jump in: Pickleball essentials prior to play. And make sure to check our full library of pickleball videos.

 

EQUIPMENT YOU NEED TO PLAY PICKLEBALL

It is pretty easy to start pickleball, you need a paddle, at least a pickleball ball and some good shoes. In this blog we talk about the essentials prior to play. Choosing the right pickleball shoes is very important. 

 

WHAT HAPPENS AT PICKLEBALL TOURNAMENTS?

Do you like competition? Pickleball tournaments could be your answer. Explore how to find and sign up for tournaments, and the basics of what to expect at a tournament in this blog.

 

WHAT IS THE BEST TYPE OF SHOE FOR PICKLEBALL?

This guide will help you choose the type of shoes you need to play your best on different pickleball surfaces and conditions. The variables in you, how you play, where you play, and how often you play are factors you need to consider.  Your physical makeup, style of play, and court surfaces are the three most important factors that influence pickleball shoe selection. 

Check out our suggested Pickleball shoes

 

WHY IS PICKLEBALL CALLED PICKLEBALL?

Pickleball was “born” in Bainbridge Island, WA. The founders were Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. The sport was named by Pritchard’s wife Joan a rower, who named the game after the poorest performing rowers who populated what crew aficionados called the pickle boat. Many reports that the sport was named after the family dog “Pickles” turned out to be incorrect as the dog was born 5 years after pickleball was first played in Pritchard’s vacation backyard.

Learn more about the creation of pickleball and hear Joel Pritchard’s son Frank tell the story here.

 

BENEFITS OF PLAYING PICKLEBALL

Pickleball’s social and health benefits to different generations and genders have fueled the strong growth of the sport.  Pickleball is fun and social at one level and competitive at another.

Thousands of pickleball players comprise a wide cross section of the population. Seniors, juniors, adults, men, and women enjoy the physicality as well as the feelings of camaraderie the sport invokes. See more benefits, and even a story about how pickleball can be a lifesaver.

Be sure to check out our suggested HEAD paddles

 

THE ORIGIN OF PICKLEBALL

A bored, whiny kid—as a grownup– confessed to, in 1965, challenging his dad to invent a game that became known as Pickleball—the fast-growing paddle sport. The Sports and Fitness Industry Association says over 4 million people played the game in their participation study of 2020, fifty-six years after Joel Pritchard lowered their backyard badminton net so his son Frank had something new to play.  

The oddly named game combined elements of tennis paddleball and spread quickly, as its popularity was attributed to enthusiastic play in community centers, phys ed classes and retirement communities.  An interesting recounting of the origin.

 

THE HISTORY OF PICKLEBALL

From its 1965 backyard beginning in the Pacific Northwest vacation home of Joel Pritchard, pickleball has spread fast throughout the world with multi-millions playing the sport today.

A truly social sport, Pickleball’s first rule book was published in 1984 when the United States Amateur Association was formed and staged the first pickleball National Doubles Pickleball Championships.  For an amazing narrative tracing the History of Pickleball: More Than 50 Years of Fun  by Jennifer Lucore and Beverly Youngrean is an easy and informative read.  

To trace the phenomenal growth, follow this pickleball timeline.

 

MUST KNOW TERMS IF YOU WANT TO PLAY PICKLEBALL

Many sports have their own jargon or language and pickleball is no different.  Two of the more unique are pickleball’s dink shot and kitchen area on the court–officially called the non-volley zone.  Some of the other need-to-know pickleball terms include baseline, centerline, midcourt, sideline, ace, cross-court, and others. Find the definitions in this pickleball glossary.

 

WHAT IS A PICKLEBALL DROP SERVE?

The Drop Serve is when the server chooses the option of dropping the ball and hitting it after the bounce. The ball can be dropped from any height but cannot be thrown, tossed, or otherwise released with any added force to bounce it.  Here is a good article on the drop serve.

 

HOW IS SCORING DONE IN PICKLEBALL?

 A team or individual can only score a point in pickleball while serving.   A 2-point margin is required to win a game.  Read about the pickleball scoring rules here 

 

HOW TO SERVE IN A GAME OF PICKLEBALL?

Learning the fundamentals of pickleball serving is especially important to beginning players.

The correct stance, movement and follow-through are essential and Coach Jeff Rausch shows how they are incorporated into a good pickleball serving motion.  The serve is key to the game because only teams or individuals who serve can score points. See fundamentals here.

 

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GRIP A PICKLEBALL PADDLE?

The term “grip” can be confusing. It has two meanings.  One is the handle of the paddle which is called the grip and the other is how the handle is held.  Most inquiries are about how to hold or grip the handle.  There are multiple solutions discussed here.

Be sure to check out our suggested HEAD paddles

 

HOW DO BEGINNERS LEARN TO RETURN SERVE?

Many beginners spend time learning how to serve, but the flip side of the served is the return of serve, so when a player is on the receiving end of a serve there are simple techniques to send it back over the net. Here is a great Return of Serve for Beginners article.

 

WHAT IS THE DOUBLE BOUNCE RULE IN PICKLEBALL?

The double bounce rule in pickleball, or the two-bounce rule, means that the ball must bounce on each team’s first groundstroke.  After the ball is first served, each side must make one groundstroke that bounces prior to volleys being allowed.

The intent of this rule is to prevent the receiver from rushing the net in a serve-volley attack. Another advantage is that it extends rallies. Learn more about pickleball rules here.

 

WHAT IS THE NON-VOLLEY ZONE IN PICKLEBALL?

The Non-Volley Zone (NVZ), commonly called the kitchen, is an area that extends 7 feet from the net on each side, within which a player is not allowed to strike the ball without it first bouncing. 

Volleys–striking the ball before it bounces– can be used anywhere except the aptly named Non-Volley Zone. 

Stepping into “the kitchen” is allowed to play a ball that has bounced. See the key rules of pickleball for more information.

 

WHY YOU SHOULD START PLAYING PICKLEBALL?

Like reasons for not doing your homework, there are endless reasons why you should start playing pickleball:  

Your girlfriend wants you to play.  Your lifelong tennis partner moved away.  Your boss wants to play with you.  It is fun.  It is easy to learn.  It is social.  There are tournaments to feed your competition. It is great aerobic exercise. It’s not pricey. Kids can play. Did we say it’s fun?

And if you are like this woman, pickleball saved her life.

 

SELECTING THE BEST BALLS FOR PICKLEBALL

Not all balls are equal. Do you play indoors or outdoors? Are you a competitive player or more a rec player? Pickleballs come in different colors and surfaces. They make different sounds when struck by paddles and even have different numbers of holes.   If you need help with pickleball balls selection, this blog on selecting the best balls for pickleball is for you.

 

HOW DOES THE PICKLEBALL RATING SYSTEM WORK?

Enjoyable pickleball games are generally played with players with skill sets similar to yours. Leagues will generally help make that happen, but how about when you are just getting started or are traveling and looking for a game at a pickleball facility.

 How can you get together with players with skills like you?   Pickleball has developed three rating systems. 

The first is the self or local team rating system from USA Pickleball.  The second is for tournament players and in many tournaments, a requirement  The accurate global rating system used by the world’s premier Pickleball clubs, tours, and professionals is Dynamic Universal Pickleball Rating.  Visit their sites to select a system to fit your level.

WHAT IS DUPR ? 

Dynamic Universal Pickleball Rating is the most accurate and only global rating system in Pickleball. All players, regardless of their age, gender, location, or skill, are rated on the same scale between 2.00-8.00 based on their match results. 

 

WHAT ARE PICKLEBALL LEAGUES?

Leagues can be great fun, and a great way to make new friends, and after your social appetite is filled playing in a league can satiate your competitive urges, too.  It’s a solution to the frustrating hunt for open courts as the league likely has regularly scheduled court reservations.  

Many municipal recreation departments and YMCA have added pickleball leagues to their offerings.  Over 3,000 pickleball leagues can be found at The Global Pickleball Network

 

HOW TO TRAIN FOR PICKLEBALL?

Pickleball has attracted people of varying fitness levels, from those with lower-level fitness to highly competitive athletes.  Pickleball’s growing popularity has also increased preventable injuries.  Proper warm-ups, some post play recovery practices, and prevention exercises could help avoid those injuries

Dynamic stretches, stretching with motion, are quickly becoming the preferred form of warm-up at all levels of sports.  This aids greater mobility and is a great way to warm the muscles up and prepare them for coming activity.  This blog covers the essential exercises you can perform before playing.

 

KITCHEN RULES IN PICKLEBALL

The non-volley zone or its nickname “The Kitchen” is the court area within 7 feet on both sides of the net extending to both sidelines.  As its name indicated no volley—striking the balls before it bounces—is allowed in that zone.  A groundstroke—the ball having bounced—is permittedMore detailed rules explanation

Check out our suggested Pickleball shoes

 

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PICKLEBALL AND PADDLE TENNIS

There are five differences between pickleball and paddle tennis.  The dimensions and layouts of the courts are different as well as the sidewalls in paddle tennis.  The equipment, balls, and paddles are different. The rules and scoring systems are different.  

Detailed differences between pickleball and paddle tennis

 

INDOOR VS OUTDOOR PICKLEBALL

Which is more fun to play: indoor or outdoor pickleball?  New and seasoned players alike may prefer to play inside simply because the experience is always consistent. There are fewer variables (like wind and sun) and fewer unexpected other weather occurrences The differences don’t stop there.  

SportsEdTV senior contributor Trey Sizemore has much for you to consider on the topic.

 

EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PICKLEBALL COURTS

Surfaces, painted lines, nets, posts, and outdoor sun orientation are among the subjects discussed that are valuable, especially for do-it-yourselfers.  Learn precise dimensions and elements to complete a pickleball court.  

 

WHAT IS THE RULE IF A PLAYER MISSES THE BALL IN THE DROP SERVE?

As long as the player doesn’t hit the ball she/he can try again unless the time limit is up-10 seconds. You have 10 seconds from announcing the score to completing your serve.

Learn more about the Drop Serve

 

IS THERE A LET SERVE IN PICKLEBALL?

No, unlike in tennis. If the ball touches the net and lands in the proper serve area, it is a live ball and played off the net without stopping play. The rule was changed in 2021.

.

PICKLEBALL COURT VS TENNIS COURT - DIFFERENCES

The first main difference is the size of the court. A pickleball court is much smaller than a tennis court, it is 20’ x 44’ for both singles and doubles. In pickleball, a non-volley zone extends 7’ back from the net on each side, commonly called “the kitchen”. There are of course other differences well explained in this article.

 

WHO CAN LEARN TO PLAY PICKLEBALL

Almost anyone can learn to play pickleball.  Like most sports at a recreational level, there may not be much that would restrict a person from playing.  High-intensity pro pickleball is one end of the spectrum and super senior healthy play may be at the other.  Essentials of pickleball play remain the same at both ends.  Pickleball’s learning curve varies from player to player, but its ease has fueled amazing growth in the game.

 

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR PICKLEBALL GAME

Good coaching, good study, good instruction are always the routes taken by many in search of sports’ holy grail–establishing personal bests. Young pickleball is evolving as a game and the elements of the game are dynamic.  Learning to enjoy the process of improving represents much of the game’s enjoyment.

 

HOW TO PLAY PICKLEBALL ON A TENNIS COURT

The easiest way is to lower the tennis net to 34" at the center.  You can then tape or paint lines on the court for pickleball (make sure to check with the facility first). Then the court can be used for both tennis and pickleball very easily. Check more about a pickleball court dimension here.

Chalking using sidewalk chalk is a popular alternative to taping and is often good until the next rain.  Taping is cleaner. However, you need to be careful with the type of tape, especially with outdoor courts due to surface degradation to ensure the court surface does not come up when removing the tape.  For that reason, simple painter's tape is the most commonly used.   In addition, if using a tennis court that also has blended lines for junior tennis (orange ball 60-foot court), players often just add the non-volley zone lines using tape.  Note that these junior tennis singles lines are one foot wider than a pickleball court and using the service line it is one foot shorter than a pickleball court. However is an easy alternative, especially for beginners or social play. 

 

WHERE CAN YOU PLAY PICKLEBALL?

By now, pickleball’s expansive growth has taken the sport to many places on our globe.  It has also influenced many municipal recreation departments to offer places to play.  And many public and member-only clubs have proliferated.  Your favorite search engine will offer you choices with a search of “where can I play pickleball near me” and of course, there is a great online engine offered by USA Pickleball that will find you a place to play.

 

HOW BIG SHOULD A PICKLEBALL COURT BE?

Pickleball is played on a court with these specific dimensions.  

Of course, like in many sandlot and pick-up games which are played in back-yards, streets and school yards, some imaginative use of environmental elements are known to encourage informal pickleball players.  

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW AS A PICKLEBALL BEGINNER?

A big question that should be answered in chunks. 

Right away you need to know pickleball is fun, social and healthy.  It’s a new sport, easier to learn and play and attracts seniors and youngsters.

 It might be good to hear from another beginner to start.  Then spending some time reviewing the rules of the game will save you some early embarrassment. Getting equipment is a key–shoes, and paddle choices are abundant.  

Our Carrie Lane,  one of the great team SportsEdTV Coaches and contributors has a lot to share about essentials to get your pickleball game started.  

 

HOW HAS PICKLEBALL BECOME SO POPULAR?

Pickleball’s easy-learn, easy-play has attracted players of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. Those are among the elements feeding  pickleball’s growth.  

Some avid pickleballers are impaired and encouraged by Pickleball for All, an organization dedicated to bringing the game to wheelchair athletes, seniors, juniors and veterans.

 

CAN YOU PLAY PICKLEBALL ON A TENNIS COURT?

Pickleball can be played on almost any firm surface. Lawns and gravel make pickleball difficult.    The surface on most tennis courts will make for good pickleball, though clay tennis courts might cause the pickleball’s holes to fill with the surfaces.

When the surface is acceptable, the lines need to be adjusted for pickleball and if the tennis lines are permanent, it can cause confusion.  Taping or chalking different colored pickleball lines can help.  

 

BEST PICKLEBALL SHOES

This guide will help you choose the type of shoes you need to play your best on different pickleball surfaces and conditions. The variables in you, how you play, where you play, and how often you play are factors you need to consider.  Your physical makeup, style of play, and court surfaces are the three most important factors that influence pickleball shoe selection. Find more pickleball shoe selection information here:

https://sportsedtv.com/blog/How-To-Choose-Pickleball-Shoes/

 

HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR  PICKLEBALL EQUIPMENT

Pickleball equipment and the question of how to maintain it nudged SportsEdTV editors to develop a blog that turns out to be pretty much fundamental to most sports.  Pickleball’s paddles, shoes, and padding and their cousins in other ball and stick sports fundamental maintenance routines.

 

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR PICKLEBALL STRATEGY

 Good strategy wins most matches.  Having a winning strategy often tips the scales even against more skilled opponents. Our Trey Sizemore has inside and outside-the-match strategy tips.

 

ARE WALL DRILLS USEFUL IN PICKLEBALL?

They are useful to work on dinking, drop shots, volleys, contacts, footwork, resets, etc. However, they can be frustrating if the wall does not bounce back effectively. Some practicing pickleball players have used heavy-duty plywood to practice shots against and were pleased with it. Sports EdTV Coach Sarah  Ansboury has her own ideas on wall practice.

 

IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE PLAYING PICKLEBALL

Pickleball is an easy sport to pick up and you will have a lot of fun playing it. However, there are some important things you need to know before starting to play. What are the basic rules, of pickleball, what paddle to use, are there specific shoes you need, etc. This article covers the basic elements you will need to  know: 

 

WHAT IS PRO PICKLEBALL

Pro Pickleball is a media company that offers pro pickleball matches at different pickleball tournaments. You can visit their YT channel here: https://www.youtube.com/c/ProPickleballMedia/videos 

 

HOW TO CHOOSE A PICKLEBALL PADDLE 

In pickleball one thing is sure: You need a paddle to play. There are over 250 pickleball paddle manufacturers and it can be difficult to choose the right one. Whether you're a pickleball newbie or a hard-nosed tournament player, there are many options in picking a pickleball paddle.

Subjects like weight, size, shape, material, and even color are among the different aspects you need to look at. This blog  provides background to paddle shoppers and especially gives advice on the best pickleball paddles for beginner players and the best pickleball paddles for intermediate players, 

 

THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PICKLEBALL AND TENNIS

There are actually a lot of differences between the sports. Yes, they both take place on a court divided by a net where either 2 or 4 players are present, but this is where the similarities stop.

The main differences are on the equipment side: Pickleball paddles are smaller than tennis racquets. Tennis racquets have strings, and pickleball paddles do not. Pickleball uses a ball with holes, which means it doesn’t bounce as high as a tennis ball. It’s similar in appearance to a Wiffle ball. And of course on the court size where pickleball courts are much smaller as you can see in this blog .

The rules are really different starting with the underhand serve, the scoring, the non-volley zone, and other sets of rules explained in this article

 

THE MOST POPULAR  PICKLEBALL ACCESSORIES

Birthdays, anniversaries, flirts, and long-distance handshakes are all reasons for selecting a good will accessory for a pickleball player.  

Be careful though, if they are serious players your equipment gift might be a faux pas, so this blog will help you look elsewhere for accessory gifting ideas for your pickleballer.

 

WHAT ARE THE BEST PICKLEBALL CAMPS FOR ADULTS

Answers are subjective and relative to individuals, but here is pickleball camp information that will shorten and smooth the pickleball camp selection process.   Be sure to check the level of the camp you're considering.  It is no fun to be a beginner in an advanced class and vice versa.

Leading choices and descriptions here.

 

PICKLEBALL RULES FOR PLAYING DOUBLES

Pickleball rules bear a close resemblance to its mixed lineage.  Mostly prominent are its serving rules that are like tennis, though the serve itself is mechanically different.   Most pickleball is played in the doubles format; those rules are summarized here.  Only this separates the doubles vs singles rules: In singles, the server serves from the right/even court when his or her score is even and from the left/odd when the score is odd. 

 USAPickleball,  the considered authority, publishes its rules in pamphlet form available here.   

 

PICKLEBALL RULES FOR PLAYING SINGLES

In pickleball, only this separates the doubles vs singles rules: In singles, the server serves from the right/even court when his or her score is even and from the left/odd when the score is odd. Pickleball rules bear a close resemblance to its mixed lineage.  Mostly prominent are its serving rules which are like tennis, though the serve itself is mechanically different.  Rules common to singles and doubles formats are  summarized here.  

 USAPickleball,  the considered authority, publishes its rules in pamphlet form available here.  

 

LEAD TAPE FOR PICKLEBALL PADDLES

Adding lead tape to your pickleball paddle can improve your play.  It can add power and reduce mishits. The why and how fundamentals are presented by SportsEdTV editorial staff.  A great video by a pickleball professional is linked as are taping sources.  Caution is urged, as some players have experienced extra strain on their striking arm.