Rules of Pickleball -101

Rules of Pickleball -101
Published: 2022-07-12
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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 that includes places to play, how to play, youth training, 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.

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Let’s start with the serve:

Mechanics:

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

Ball:

  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 net but must bounce beyond the non-volley zone line on serve only

Boundaries:

  1. Serve to diagonal quadrant across 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

Sequence:

  1. Always starts in the right quadrant on each side of the net
  2. Beginning serving team gets one player in the right quadrant to start
  3. If a point is made by serving team the server switches quadrants with partner and serves from the left quadrant. Continue until point is lost. Serve then starts with 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.

Two bounce rule:

  1. 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 net on each side designated by a horizontal line across the court)

  1. 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. Cannot hit the net with your paddle

Lines:

  1. if the ball hit’s any part of the line it is considered “in” except on the serve (see #6)

Scoring:

  1. Serving team can only score
  2. Games usually played to first team to reach 11 win by 2
  3. Score should be called prior to each serve
  4.  

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.