pickleball rules

Pickleball Rules: How to Play World’s Fast Growing Sport

Last Updated on June 18, 2023 by Molly Egan

Pickleball rules are relatively simple and easy to understand, making it enjoyable for all ages. It’s a beginner-friendly sport that is quickly learned even without prior sports experience.

Familiarity with tennis or ping pong will be an advantage to winning faster.

Where are the Best Pickleball Courts? 

We have played across the country because it is so popular! Visiting friends, family, and work outings have included this sport. 

The best outdoor pickleball courts – are, fortunately – across the country! Find the best 23 here

How Many People Play Pickleball?

Pickleball is most commonly played with doubles – two players per team. You CAN play as singles – so have fun if players don’t show!

There Are No Ties in Pickleball

At least two points must be the difference between teams. There is also no tie, the winning team must be up by two points.

What is the best equipment for pickleball? 

Bags, paddles, balls, shoes, clothing, hats, and accessories can make your pickleball game experience more enjoyable. 

The best pickleball paddles are here. The best court shoes for pickleball are here. 

Best Pickleball Introduction to Basics Video

What are the Pickleball Rules?  

I. Court and Equipment 

A. Court dimensions 

B. Net height 

C. Paddle specifications 

D. Ball specifications

II. Serving 

A. Service order 

B. Serve placement 

C. Foot fault rules

III. Playing the Game 

A. Double bounce rule 

B. Non-volley zone (kitchen) rules 

C. Faults and out-of-bounds 

D. Let serves 

E. Scoring system

IV. Additional Rules 

A. Faults and penalties 

B. Player positioning 

C. Line calls and disputes

Pickleball Court and Equipment 

Get your court dimensions and net height right, pick a paddle that meets the rules, and remember the specs for the ball!

Pickleball Court Dimensions

Pickleball courts are 44′ long and 20′ wide for doubles play, with a non-volley zone (kitchen) extending 7 feet from the net on each side.

Pickleball Net height 

The net height for pickleball is 36″ at the sidelines and 34″ at the center, providing a fair and challenging playing field.

Pickleball Paddle specifications 

Pickleball paddles must be solid-faced, without any perforations, and have a maximum length of 17 inches, width of 7.5 inches, and weight of 10.0 ounces.

Pickleball Ball specifications

Pickleball balls are perforated, made of plastic, and have a diameter of approximately 2.87 to 2.97 inches, providing the right bounce and speed for enjoyable gameplay.

Pickleball Serving 

Serve it up with your foot in the proper place, send the ball – diagonally – and watch out for those sneaky foot faults!

When striking the ball, the server’s feet may not touch the court, and at least one foot must be behind the baseline or the ground behind the baseline.

image courtesy of USA pickleball

Serving order 

The first serve starts with one player from the right-hand side of the court serving to the opposite of the diagonal court. After scoring a point, the serving team switches sides, and the serving order rotates accordingly.

Both players on the serving team have the chance to serve. After scoring a point, the server initiates the next serve from the left side.

The second server continues serving until a fault is committed and the serve to the opposing team is lost.

Serve placement 

The serve in pickleball must be made underhand and ball moving in an upward arc, with the first server always standing behind the baseline and serving diagonally to the opponent’s service court, avoiding the non-volley zone (kitchen).

Foot fault rules

Foot faults occur when the server steps on or over the baseline, touches the court during the serve or enters the non-volley zone (kitchen) before the ball bounces. 

Insiders Tip: Avoid those to keep your serve valid.

Playing the Game of Pickleball

Remember the double bounce rule – or the two bounce rule – avoid the kitchen like a hot stove, and stay within bounds to avoid embarrassing faults.

image courtesy of USA pickleball

Double bounce rule

The double bounce rule means that the ball must bounce once on each side before volleying. To ensure fair play and adding a strategic elements to the game, let the ball bounce twice.

Non-volley zone – kitchen – rules

Non-volley zone, also known as the “kitchen,” prohibits players from hitting the ball out of the air within this area, promoting strategic shot placement and preventing aggressive play near the net.

Faults and out-of-bounds

Faults occur when a player violates a service rule. There are serval instances of faults, most common are ball is hit into the net, ball is volleyed before a bounce on each side, or ball is hit out of bounds.

The easiest fault a team commits is when hitting the ball out of bounds.

Let serves 

Let serves occur when the server serves the ball and it hits the net and lands in the proper court. This is considered a do-over, with no penalty, ensuring fairness in play.

Scoring system

Pickleball rules use a rally scoring system, where the serving and receiving teams score points. The first team to reach 11 or 15 points, with a two-point lead, wins the game.

When you commence the serve, you announce your score, followed by the opposing teams’ score, and lastly, who’s serving. The server or last number indicates a team’s first or second server.

Additional Pickleball Rules

Play fair or face the consequences! Mind your positioning, settle line calls like adults, and brace yourself for penalties if you misbehave!

Faults and penalties 

Faults include pickleball rules violations, such as stepping into the non-volley zone. Penalties may result in the loss of the rally or point, reminding us to play by the rules or face the consequences.

Player positioning 

In pickleball, player positioning involves strategic placement, appropriate court coverage, and teamwork to maximize efficiency and exploit opponents’ weaknesses while maintaining a solid defensive stance.

Line calls and disputes

In pickleball, line calls should resolve through basic rules of fair play and sportsmanship. Disputes can be determined by players reaching a mutual agreement or seeking assistance from a referee or designated official if available.


Pickleball is fun because it combines Tennis, ping pong, and badminton elements, making it accessible to all skill levels, promoting social interaction, and providing a fast-paced and exciting playing experience.

Check out the USA Pickleball association for the latest information on the sport. And remember, the highest point wins!

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