Knowledge Base

Pickleball Rules for Beginners and Dummies – [The Complete Guide]

If you want information about the latest pickleball rules for beginners and dummies, then congratulations, you have reached the right spot.

Our team of sports experts has properly researched pickleball game rules by interviewing pickleball professionals and come up with a comprehensive USAPA pickleball rules summary for our viewers.

Pickleball Rules

Rules are an important part of every game including pickleball. Pickleball is a quite straightforward game and matches other racket games like tennis and badminton. This game is a great choice for your sports career and you can even play it as a regular sports activity.

However, to be competitive in any sort of pickleball match, developing a complete understanding of do’s and don’ts of this game is the key to improving and winning matches. So, we would strongly recommend you start with complete pickleball game rules especially if you’re a novice.

We have organized this blog post around all the rules for the pickleball games and we are sure that by the end of this you’ll get an answer to the most common question ‘how to play pickleball’.

So, without wasting any time, let’s get on with it:

General Pickleball Rules Made Easy for Novice and Professionals – [Latest]

It’s nice and handy to start off with some basic rules which are general in nature and applicable to both pickleball singles and doubles format. If you are new to this game and want to learn it from scratch then this is the place to begin. In case, you are already familiar with these then you can skip this section and start reading pickleball tournament rules. So, let’s start our journey:

1). Pickleball Rules for Serving

First things first. Every pickleball match starts with a serve by the server. Serve is extremely important and if you don’t do it properly then you might end up losing game points right at the start. This is not good at all as it puts too much pressure on you. Here are serving rules for pickleball:

  • A player can start service motion from outside the baseline
  • To stroke, the ball for serve, movement of the paddle is allowed in both forward and backward direction
  • A server must serve while he or she is standing in the permissible court area
  • At the time of paddle striking the ball, server’s feet must not touch court outlines or centerline
  • On the serve, a ball should travel to the receiver through air without bouncing off the court surface
  • The direction of the serve must be downward to an upward direction
  • Both forehand and backhand motion are allowed for service
  • Server’s paddle must strike the ball at or below the navel otherwise the serve is designated as illegal
  • Serve is always done diagonally
  • If the ball collides with the net and drops in the non-volley zone then a service fault occurs
  • A legal serve neither falls in the kitchen zone or outside court
  • In case of a service let (ball hitting the net and falling in service area), serve replay is allowed
  • While playing pickleball doubles, the first server of the serving team stands in the right side of the court if the serving team score is even
  • In case the serving team has an odd score, then the first server of the serving team serves from the left side of the court

2). Pickleball Non-Volley Zone (Kitchen) Rules

Non-volley or kitchen zone is a seven feet area on both sides of the net. It’s a very important area and plays a significant role during a match. To be competitive, you need to have a watch on the non-volley zone rules in pickleball. Here are some basic pickleball rules for the non-volley zone:

  • Players are not allowed to volley play (hitting the ball without bouncing from the surface) is not allowed while players are standing in the non-volley zone
  • While playing a volley stroke if a striker touches the kitchen line or his momentum taken him into the kitchen zone, a fault occurs
  • A player can play normal shots (non-volley play) while standing in the kitchen area

3). Pickleball Scoring Rules

Scoring is essential in pickleball like any other game. After all, it’s the score points that decide the winner or loser.

Let’s look at some scoring rules in a pickleball match:

  • Points are earned or lost by the serving team
  • Normally, the game has 11 points with a win by 2 points
  • Tournament games can have either 15 or 21 points with a win by 2 points

4). Pickleball Line Rules

In a pickleball court, there are different lines: baseline, centerline, and kitchen line. The baseline outlines the court boundary while the centerline indicates the middle of the court and marks the position of the center net. However, the kitchen line distinguishes the kitchen zone and the non-kitchen zone. Understudying pickleball line rules is equally important as other rules.

So, let’s see a few:

  • A ball landing outside the baseline is called as out while a ball that lands inside the court boundary are considered as in
  • If a ball hits the kitchen line on the serve then it’s a fault
  • When a ball touches the baseline is also considered in

5). The Double Bounce Rule in Pickleball

This is probably the thing that you have to look for constantly each time the ball is served by the serving team. The receiver has to be more careful in ensuring that the double-bounce rule is fulfilled properly. The double bounce rule in pickleball goes like this:

  • The receiving team should make sure to strike the ball after one bounce every time the server serves the ball
  • While countering the serve return, the serving team must allow the ball to bounce before striking it back
  • After the ball has bounced at least once in each court, the team’s/opponents can start playing volley
  • If a player attempts to play a volley while the ball hasn’t bounced off the ground, then a fault occurs which results in the receiving team winning a point

Pickleball Tournament Rules – [Complete and Easy]

You might be familiar with types of pickleball tournaments. On the international level, there are two types of tournaments:

  1. Singles
  2. Doubles

A Singles pickleball tournament is played between two players. Each player is an opponent of the other.

However, in a doubles pickleball tournament, the match is played between two teams. Each team has two players so there are a total of four players in a match. The good news is that the basic rules for serving and playing remain the same.

Similarly, the double-bounce rule for both singles and doubles is the same. However, for proper understanding for beginners, we’ve outlined the following rules that you must follow:

1). Rules for Pickleball Singles

  • Before the service, both players must be standing in an alternate position (diagonal form)
  • If the server score is even then serve is always done from the right side of the court otherwise left side of the court is used for serving

2). Pickleball Rules for Doubles

  • Each player in the serving team gets the chance to serve
  • A player standing on the right side of the court is the first server
  • When both servers of the serving team have served then it’s a side out (serving team changes)
  • After every side-out, servers are renumbered

Wrap Up

Understanding pickleball rules alone is never enough for beginner players for winning a game. However, in the light of these rules, you can devise a strategy for giving a tough time to your opponent.


About the author


I am James Brad i am pickle ball lover and love to write about pickle ball and pickleball gear. I play pickleball from 2015 I hope you like my writing.