Pickleball Rules: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering the Game

Basic pickleball rules

No matter whether you’re a beginner or a master, understanding pickleball rules is needed to step onto the court!

Pickleball Rules are synonymous with badminton, table tennis, shuttlecock, and other similar court games in which opponents use paddles or rackets to hit the ball or cock. It is also known as a paddleball game and has been played at both national and international forums.

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What is Pickleball?

What is pickleball

Before the ruling, basic knowledge of the game is necessary to build a better understanding of it.

For your information, pickleball is a court game that is typically played among two, four, six, or sometimes eight players.

Opponents stand parallel to each other in their defined zones across the net and hit the ball through composite paddles. The net has up to 40 holes and is considered a midcourt line that divides the court.

Pickleball Court

The Pickleball court has left and right service areas which are equally divided by a fine net. Each half is painted with sidelines, baselines, and a centerline where orange depicts the baseline and blue is for the centerline. These lines indicate the side of each player and the boundary to play within.

Typically, the size of a pickleball court is 20 inches x 40 inches where two to four players can play at a time. While the dimensions of the midcourt net are as follows: 36 inches x 34 inches. A player stands on the serving line which is approximately 7 ft. away from the hanging net. The entire court has white borders or boundaries that limit the range of players.

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How To Play Pickleball? Step-by-step Guide

Pickleball is an easy-going court game with simple directions and rules, but mistakes and errors are unaffordable especially when you’re a professional player. I am not saying this to disappoint you but to encourage your will to understand the principles and rules of this game to perform like a pro. So, chin up players, and continue reading!

In the pickleball court, the opponents stand diagonally and begin playing; the player who first hits the ball is considered as “serving size” and points will be awarded to him. As I mentioned before, there are seven feet between the net and the player’s vicinity which is called the “non-volley area”. Both players continue to serve from their playing zone until one of them drops a ball.

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Pickleball Serve

As you are now aware that opponents stand in a diagonal position and serve the ball to each other using composite paddles, so pickleball serve is to be made in that transverse state. Serving a ball might sound easygoing but it’s not because you have to look after certain rules related to your standing position and serving style to avoid any mistakes. Let’s discuss:

There are the following important rules linked to the pickleball serve: (1) it should cover a distance of at least seven feet to avoid falling in the non-volley area, (2) while serving the ball contestants should stand on the serving line, (3) serving ball should fly high enough so that it won’t touch the ground, and (4) a player should serve the ball with his toes behind the service line.

Let’s be realistic! In case you’ve made a mistake, the pickleball serving side will switch to your opponent instantly in case of both single and team play. The player who’s not on the serving side and made a mistake has room for fault and will get a chance. Long story short, if you fail an attempt, the service side will shift to the opponent.

Return Of Serve

Now we have reached the point where a player has served a paddleball game ball according to the rules of pickleball, so it’s time for the opponent to return the serve. As far as return of serve is concerned, the transverse standing position matters the most. Once you serve the ball, it comes to you from the opposite side and at that time you should wait a few seconds so that the ball hits the ground at least once.


“Ball is in the air” is known as a volley; a ball that doesn’t hit the ground or does not bounce is considered a volley. While serving a volley, a player should stand behind the serving line; even touching the serving line will be reflected as a fault. Therefore, you need to be extra conscious about your standing position and vicinity.

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Double-Bounce Pickleball Rule

A player who is serving the ball at first should strike with enough force that the ball bounces at least once near the receiving edge or opponent’s vicinity. This bouncing should be continued by then on each player’s side and is called the double-bounce rule. After that, a player standing in a non-volley area can hit the ball with no bouncing.

Non-Volley Area

Non-volley area is the seven feet distance from the net to the player’s standing position. As the name suggests, this area is not for volleying. Non-volley zone is restricted, and you cannot step in that area otherwise it will be considered a fault. This rule aims to prevent smashes or crashes.

The non-volley area rule is simple yet strict as your apparel or accessories are also not allowed to enter the dimensions of a non-volley area when volleying. Legally, you can only step in this zone when you are not volleying. In some states, this non-volley zone is also called the kitchen.

Line Calls

Pickleball line call rules and directions are uncomplicated and straightforward however making a line call on the court can be challenging for beginners. The pickleball is only considered as correct when it lands on all lines of court except the non-volley or kitchen zone. These lines are also known as “in” and depict that pickleball is served on the centerline, baseline, or sideline.

On the other hand, if the pickleball hits a zone other than these lines or in the non-volley zone, it is known as “out”. In a few words, any other shot that hits the area except the non-volley zone is “in” and the ball which hits the kitchen area is “out”. A serve contacting the kitchen is also a fault.


A fault is synonymous with a mistake, and it happens when you violate any of the pickleball rules. For example, if a player didn’t serve the ball in court or the ball contacts the net or non-volley zone is a fault in pickleball. On the occasion of a rule violation, the score will be given to the opponent or serving team and you’ll also lose your chance of service.

Para Pickleball

Based on the player’s ability, pickleball is primarily divided into two: standard pickleball and para pickleball where para pickleball is designed for wheelchair players. It was invented in 2016 by the USA pickleball association and aims to develop the rules and regulations to make para pickleball a professional-level sport.

In para pickleball, the wheels of a wheelchair are taken over as the body or legs of a player and other rules are the same as standard pickleball. In other words, you have to be conscious of boundaries, non-volley zone, and double-bouncing rules.

However, there is leverage provided in para-pickleball due to the disability of players as they are allowed to reply to the service after the double bounce, and more.

In para pickleball, the player should stay in a non-moving position while serving the ball, and one push is allowed for these special players before serving.

Pickleball sessions can include both standing or wheelchair players as well, and in that scenario, the rules are applied respectively. In simple words, the standing player will follow standard rules while a person in a wheelchair will follow rules according to para pickleball.


A player or team gets a point in pickleball only when they are on the serving side, and they can continue serving until they make a fault. Once you’ve made the fault, the serving side will get switched instantly and you’ll lose the point. This is also called side out.

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Basic Rules of pickleball

Amendments To Pickleball Rules

Last and this year, rules for pickleball have faced different controversies over the official rulebook, and for that reason, the officials have bent some rules. Don’t worry the rules are the same as I have explained above but some changes have been made that include the involvement of the pickleball community. Let’s discuss it!

The service was optional before but by the start of 2022, it has been made obligatory, which is a good change because this way new contestants will get the opportunity to succeed. Secondly, players can now use paddles or rackets and both hands to impart or convey the spin serve on the pickleball. This rule was legally made in 2021 and it aims to add better spinning and controlling in pickleball.


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Final Words

Without a doubt, sports bring an array of health benefits including physical fitness and mental relief; likewise, pickleball is an energetic and fun-going game that involves body movement, stability, muscle contraction, vision, focus, and whatnot. This game is quite popular in the US and has graphics related to table tennis and other court games.

While playing pickleball without faults, you have to gain knowledge of its correct rules and guidelines which are thoroughly discussed in this blog.

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