Pickleball is an engaging and fast-paced sport that’s gaining popularity among people of all ages. If you’re new to pickleball, it’s crucial to understand the basic rules to enjoy the game and play it correctly. In this guide, we’ll explore the fundamental pickleball rules that every beginner should be aware of.
Pickleball is a unique racquet sport played on a rectangular court, combining elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It’s typically played in doubles, but singles matches are also common. Here’s a breakdown of the basic rules that beginners need to know.
Pickleball is played on a 20×44-foot court for doubles and a 20×22-foot court for singles. The court is divided into specific areas, including the non-volley zone, serving area, and boundary lines.
- The server must serve the ball diagonally to the opponent’s service court.
- The server’s feet must remain behind the back boundary when serving.
- The serve must clear the net and land in the diagonal service court.
- Only one fault is allowed, meaning the server gets a second chance if the first serve is a fault.
Players can’t volley (hit the ball in the air) within the non-volley zone (7 feet from the net). They must let the ball bounce before attempting a volley.
Double Bounce Rule
Both teams must let the ball bounce once on each side before volleying. This ensures a more extended rally and equal opportunities for both teams.
Pickleball uses a unique scoring system. You can only score points when serving, and games are typically played to 11 points, although variants to 15 or 21 points are common.
Faults and Out of Bounds
A fault is committed when a player violates any of the rules. Common faults include stepping on the non-volley zone or hitting the ball out of bounds. After a fault, the opposing team gets the serve.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What’s the purpose of the non-volley zone (kitchen)?
The non-volley zone, often called the kitchen, prevents players from hovering at the net and smashing volleys. It promotes a more extended rally and exciting gameplay.
Can I step on the kitchen lines while hitting a volley?
No, any part of your foot touching the kitchen, including the lines, is considered a fault. It’s essential to stay behind the kitchen lines during volleys.
How do you decide who serves first?
Teams decide who serves first by spinning a paddle or using another random method. The winning team chooses to serve or receive first.
Can a serve hit the non-volley zone line?
Yes, as long as the serve lands in the correct diagonal service court, it can hit the non-volley zone line without being considered a fault.
What happens if the ball hits the net and goes over during a serve?
If the serve hits the net and goes over into the correct service court, it’s a “let” and should be replayed without any fault.
Can the ball be hit out of the air within the non-volley zone if you jump from outside the zone?
No, the non-volley zone rule applies even if you jump from behind the kitchen. You must let the ball bounce before hitting it within the kitchen.
Understanding the basic pickleball rules is crucial for beginners to enjoy the game. These rules ensure fair play, extended rallies, and a level playing field. As you practice and play more, you’ll become more familiar with the rules and strategies, making pickleball an exciting and engaging sport for all ages.