Skip to Main Content

5 Basic Rules of Pickleball You Need To Know

July 28, 2022

Learning the five basic rules of pickleball you need to know about helps maintain order when you are battling against another person or team.

Every sport needs law and order to keep things from turning into utter chaos. While you don’t need a 200-page rulebook to play pickleball, there are five basic rules of pickleball you need to know to play the game correctly. 

Knowing the Court

Before getting into the intricacies of the game, it’s helpful to understand the court better. A pickleball court is similar to a tennis court, albeit much smaller. Pickleball courts are about a third of the size, measuring 20 feet wide and 44 feet long.

What’s different is the “non-volley” line. Otherwise known as “the kitchen,” the non-volley line prohibits players from entering this zone to return a shot. Like a goalie crease in hockey, the non-volley line prevents players from crowding the net for an easy score. 

Keeping Score

Every sport has a unique scoring system that separates it from the rest. Pickleball is no different. A traditional pickleball game ends when a player or team scores 11 points. However, you must outscore your opponent by 2 points to emerge victorious. 

There are occasions where players might increase the point total to 15, but the same rule of winning by 2 points still applies. Pickleball is played with the traditional side-out scoring format. A player or team can only score when it’s their serve. An alternative way of playing is rally scoring, in which you can score a point without serving. 

From the Serve Down Under 

Several things make a pickleball serve different from other racquet sports. For starters, all pickleball serves must be below the waist. 

Additionally, serving happens on the right-hand side of the court, and it must go diagonally crosscourt beyond the non-volley line. And after every point scored, the server should announce the score, with the sequence of your point total, the opposing team’s point total, and what server it is.

Double-Bounce Rule

The ball must bounce twice before someone can score a point. For example, the serving team must land the ball on the other side of the court (one bounce). Then, the return team can return the serve, with the serving team letting it drop (two bounces). After the ball has touched the ground twice, players can hit it as they wish. 

Boundary Lines 

With the more complicated rules out of the way, let’s focus on one of the more obvious ones. Like any sport, pickleball has a specifically designed field with a designated out of bounds. Unlike some sports like basketball, if the ball lands on any part of the line, it is in play. The most skilled players flirt with the line all game long, but it takes hours of practice to have that precision. 

With the five basic rules of pickleball fresh in your mind, you’ll be ready to hit the court without confusion. But before you get out there, take a look at Fromuth Pickleball’s essential pickleball gear. From women’s and  men’s pickleball shoes, paddles, apparel, and other accessories, we’ll have you ready to play your best game!

All Blog Posts