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Rules of Pickleball -101

Published: 2022-07-12
Rules of Pickleball -101
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It’s time to get started with knowing some basic rules. In my experience as a coach and player, it’s best to introduce you to a few basics. All of the rules shared are standard rules, no matter your desire to be a recreational or tournament player.


If your aspiration is to be a tournament player (many more rules) or you are a “rules junkie,” I suggest visiting www.usapickleball.com as they have all the latest rules and revisions.

Yes, the rules get changed from year to year, but mostly just for tournament players. The site has a wealth of information, including places to play, how to play, youth training, and referee training …

This blog reveals the basic rules that stand on their own from year to year and will fulfill the recreational players' desire to get on the court and play with a common understanding.




Pickleball rules on serving




  1. The arm must move low to high with ball contact below the waist
  2. At ball contact, the paddle must be below the wrist



  1. Can bounce first “drop serve” or hit without a bounce
  2. One serve attempt per point
  3. Only one bounce on each side
  4. Can touch the net but must bounce beyond the non-volley zone line on serve only



  1. Serve to diagonal quadrant across the net beyond the non-volley zone line
  2. Imaginary lines extending the center and sidelines past the baseline ball contact has to happen within these boundaries



  1. It always starts in the right quadrant on each side of the net
  2. The beginning serving team gets one player in the right quadrant to start
  3. If a point is made by the serving team, the server switches quadrants with the partner and serves from the left quadrant. Continue until a point is lost. Serve then starts with the opposing team player in the right quadrant. The sequence continues with both players serving and switching quadrants. When the ball returns to the starting service team, then each player continues the sequence.


See more on the pickleball serve


Double bounce rule in pickleball:



  1. The ball must be hit off a bounce on the service return shot, and the serving team must hit their shot off a bounce when it’s returned. The next shot and from then on would give you the option to hit a volley (out of air).


Non-volley zone:



(7 feet past the net on each side designated by a horizontal line across the court)

  1. You cannot step in this area to hit a volley- if momentum makes you step into this zone, it’s considered a fault even if the ball is out of play.
  2. Can step in to hit a ball off a bounce
  3. You cannot hit the net with your paddle

Pickleball Court Lines:

  1. If the ball hits any part of the line, it is considered “in” except on the serve (see #6)


Pickleball Scoring:

  1. The serving team can only score
  2. Games are usually played to the first team to reach 11 wins by 2
  3. The score should be called before each serve


There is only a small difference between pickleball singles and doubles rules.  In the USAPickleball Rules Summary, the only addition is this single line: In singles, the server serves from the right/even court when his or her score is even and from the left or odd court when the score is odd.