How to Play Pickleball

Pickleball is sweeping the nation, and there’s no better time to jump in and learn the game. Whether you’re a complete newbie or a seasoned player looking to brush up on the basics, this guide has got you covered. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know, from the equipment you’ll need to the rules that govern the game.

What You’ll Need

Before you hit the court, make sure you have the following:

  • Pickleball paddles
  • Pickleball balls
  • A local pickleball court
  • Proper attire, including pickleball-specific shoes and socks

The Basics of the Court

Pickleball is played on a court that measures 20′ x 44′, similar to a badminton court. The net stands at 36′ high at the sidelines and dips to 34′ in the center. The game can be played as singles or doubles, with each player standing to the right or left of the centerline.

Types of Shots

  1. Groundstrokes: These are shots that are hit after the ball has bounced, usually from the baseline.
  2. Volleys: These are shots hit out of the air, generally when you’re closer to the net.

The Non-Volley Zone (The Kitchen)

Each side of the court has a 7-foot area called the Non-Volley Zone, or “the kitchen.” Players are not allowed to volley within this zone.

The Rules

Rule #1: The Serve

The game starts with a serve, which must be done underhand and aimed diagonally across the court. The serve must clear the kitchen and land in the designated service area.

Rule #2: Faults

A rally continues until a fault occurs. Faults can happen if:

  • The serve doesn’t clear the kitchen
  • A shot lands out of bounds
  • A shot hits the net

Rule #3: Scoring

In pickleball, you only score points when you serve. The game continues until one team reaches 11 points, but you must win by a margin of at least 2 points.

Rule #4: Doubles Serving

In doubles, both players get a chance to serve before the serve switches to the opposing team. The score is announced with three numbers, indicating the serving team’s score, the receiving team’s score, and which server is serving (1 or 2).

Advanced Tips

1. The Double Bounce Rule

Before volleying is allowed, the ball must bounce once on each side of the court.

2. Serving Strategies

  • Serve deep to keep your opponent back
  • Keep serves low to make aggressive returns difficult
  • Add spin to throw off your opponent


What is the double bounce rule?

The ball must bounce once on each side before any player can volley.

How do you score in pickleball?

You only score points when you serve, and you must win by at least 2 points.

Can you volley in the kitchen?

No, you cannot volley within the 7-foot Non-Volley Zone, also known as the kitchen.

How do you serve in pickleball?

The serve must be underhand and aimed diagonally across the court, clearing the kitchen.


Pickleball is a fun and engaging sport that’s easy to pick up but offers enough depth to keep you hooked. With this guide, you’re well on your way to becoming a pickleball pro. So grab your paddle, find a court, and let’s play!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top