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About Pickleball

Our Quick Guide to the Rules

About the Court

The Pickleball Court with Sizes and Dimensions

The outer rectangle of a Pickleball Court is the same as a Badminton Court which is 44ft (13.4m) x 20ft (6.10m). For this reason, many clubs play on badminton courts. The inner tramlines are all ignored in Pickleball as we use the full (doubles) court.

The non-volley zone on a Pickleball Court is 7ft (2.14m) but a badminton court is 6.5ft (1.98m) so technically six inches (15cm) should be added, but most Pickleball clubs play with the badminton lines as they are.

There is a net in the middle of the court that is 36 inches high at the side lines and 34 inches high in the centre.

Pickleball service and return

The Service

The server (Purple) must stand outside of the base line. We always start on the right side. The receiver (Green) can be inside of their base line but they will normally be outside, the reason for this will become clear in the section on “Return of Service” (below).

The Rules of the Service

The service must do the following:

  • The server must serve underhand with the paddle head under their wrist. 
  • The paddle head must be under the waist.
  • It must go over the net into the right (opposite) receiving area.
  • It must clear the non-volley line not touch it. (This is the only line that will be called out if touched on the serve).
  • The serve can touch the side lines, the centre line or the base line and it will be in.
  • If the ball touches the net but still makes it to the correct receiving area, the ball is in play and the game continues. This is NOT a “Let” as it would be in tennis.
The Return of Service
  • The receiver must allow the serve to bounce (this is why they usually start behind their base line).
  • The receiver must also clear the net with their return.
  • The returned serve can land in any part of the court (even the kitchen).
  • The return of serve must also be allowed to bounce.
Other things to know
  • If the return or any other ball hits the net, it is in providing it lands within the lines of the court.
  • You can swipe with the paddle to put a spin onto the service ball (providing the head of the paddle is under the wrist when played).
  • You cannot spin the ball with your fingers before serving it.
  • The first server only gets one serve, each side then gets two serves for the rest of the game.
  • You must be inside the side lines, even though you serve behind the base line, the imaginary side lines continue. Serving outside of the side lines is a foul serve. 
Scoring and Game Play
  • The person serving can score points, the opponent can only win the serve.
  • Games are played to eleven points.
  • After the serve bounce and the return bounce, future shots can be volleyed (hit in the air without a bounce).
  • Providing the person hitting isn’t in the non-volley zone (see fouls below).
  • Ther server should shout the current score and then serve within ten seconds.

11 Points

In a game.

2 Serves

Per side.

0-0-2

Is the starting score.

Fouls

  • If a ball hits the net on the hitters side, the game point is lost.
  • If a ball lands outside of the court, the point is lost.
  • If a ball is volleyed in the non-volley zone, this is a foul and the point is lost.
  • If a volley is struck outside the non-volley zone but the players momentum takes them into the zone after the hit, this is also a foul.

Scoring

When you first start Pickleball, the most important thing is to play and hit the ball, and get used to moving. Scoring will come with time, however, here are some scoring pointers:

  • The starting score is 0-0-2 (Zero, Zero, Two). This means the serving side has zero points, the receiving side has zero points and the server is on their second serve.
  • The first server isn’t allowed the advantage of two serves which is why they start 0-0-2.
  • Only the current serving side can score points, a score is one point.
  • The serving side score is announced first, let’s assume the server has a score 3-0-2, this means the server has three, their opponent has zero and it’s the second serve.
  • Now assume the server lost the point, the serve goes to the other side, and the score is now 0-3-1. This means the new server has zero, their opponent has three and the new servers are on their first serve. 

Remember, don’t worry about scoring, the more experienced will do that so you can enjoy the game and learn as you go.

What We Think....

“I started playing after a prompt from the wife to do more. I used to play all racquet sports when I was younger so this was an easy game for me to learn. I find that most players have tried something first but it isn’t a requirement.

I had fun and wanted to come back for more, this led to me becoming a leader with a day of training and I now play twice a week, help with the club and I always have fun (even when I lose).

This also led to my own personal improvement and have lost weight in doing it.

John - Pickleball Leader (Coalville)