What is Pickleball?
Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. with over 3.3 million players. Played on a much shorter and slightly narrower court compared to tennis, pickleball paddles are used to hit a perforated plastic ball out of the air or after one bounce over a net slightly lower than a tennis net. The holes in the ball make it travel slower, and the small court means fast running isn't essential, making pickleball popular among all ages and abilities, from children to competitive adults and retirees.
Pickleball can be played as a singles or doubles game. The court and rules are the same for both.
A pickleball game is normally played to 11 and must be won by 2. You can only score a point while you are serving. The score should be said aloud before each serve, with the serving team’s score stated first. In doubles, each player on a team gets to serve so the last number stated should be to identify which server is serving. For example, 5 - 3 - 1 would mean the serving team is winning 5 to 3 and the server is the first server on the team. The second server would call the same score as 5 - 3 – 2.
The serve must be hit with an underhand swinging motion and the ball must be contacted below the player’s navel. When serving, the player must be behind the baseline and serve into the adjacent service box as is done in tennis. You only get one serve: if the ball is hit out of the court, into the net, or into the no-volley zone, it is a side out. The center line, side lines, and baselines are considered in bounds on a serve, but if the ball lands any of the no-volley lines, it is a side out. If the ball hit the net and goes into the service box, it is a ‘let’ and the server maintains the serve. You only score points while your team is serving.
In doubles, each player serves, switching service courts after each serve, until a point is lost. The other team then gets the serve. At the start of the game, the team that serves first only gets one player to serve, so the score starts at 0 - 0 - 2, with the 2 indicating that the player is already the second server. The first server on each side always serves from the right service box into the right service box on the other side, even if that person was the last server when his/her team lost the point.
Double Bounce Rule
When the ball is served, the player on the receiving side must let the ball bounce once before hitting it. When the ball is returned to the serving side, the ball must again bounce once before being hit. After the ball has bounced once on each side, the ball can be hit without bouncing as long as you are not in the no-volley zone.
The no-volley zone (also known as "the kitchen") is seven feet from the net on each side. A player cannot hit a ball if he/she is inside the no-volley zone unless the ball bounces first. Once the ball bounces, a player can hit the ball while inside the zone, but must immediately exit the zone thereafter. If a player hits a ball while outside the no-volley zone and the shot’s momentum takes him/her into the zone, the point is lost. If your feet touch any part of the no-volley zone line, you are considered inside the zone, but you can reach over the line and hit a ball as long as your feet are behind the line.