Pickleball rules for dummies

Pickleball is a paddle sport played on hard courts. Unlike any other paddle or racquet sport, a Pickleball court also has a net in between with the basic objective of the sport being to keep the ball in play with no more than one bounce allowed per side. Here are the basic rules to the sport of Pickleball:

Pickleball is played on a (44 x 20) feet court which only fractionally larger than one side of a tennis court. This makes it economical as far as court coverage is concerned. In between the court is a net of height 36 inches at the ends whereas it is 34 inches in the center.

A hallmark feature of the Pickleball court is the Kitchen or the No-volley zone. It is present from 7 feet on each side of the net. A player cannot stand in that area and hit a direct shot. Meaning, he needs to let the ball pitch once before hitting while standing in the Kitchen.

Pickleball can be played in both singles, doubles and mixed doubles format. It is played using a wooden paddle and a whiffle ball.

Pickleball game and pickleball players on court

The play starts with one of the players serving underarm from the right side of the court. The ball should pitch on the cross court service box but not in the Kitchen. The server loses the point if he/she hits the ball inside the net. A server also loses the point if the ball goes outside bounds on the serve.

The receiver cannot receive the ball directly. He/she must allow the ball to pitch once inside the service box before returning. The server cannot take a direct shot (volley) on the first return.

Just like tennis players rally against each other to win a point, pickleball involves the same. During a rally, if the ball bounces a second time on either player’s side, he/she loses the point.

Pickleball courts

The player can win a point only on his serve. This means that if the player wins a point on the opponent’s serve, he or she will not get the point but will get his or her serve back.

The match ends when a player wins a said number of points that are decided before the match starts. This number can be 11, 15 or 21.

Players rotate sides at 6, 8 and 11 points respectively.

These are the basic guidelines to Pickleball play. Stay tuned to learn about the scoring system, equipment and various interesting facts related to this sport.

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