What Are the 7 Rules of Pickleball?
Pickleball is a fast-paced, fun, and exciting sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It is played with a paddle and a plastic ball on a badminton-sized court. To ensure a fair and enjoyable game for all players, there are seven basic rules that every pickleball player should know. Let’s dive into these rules and answer some common questions about the game.
1. The serve must be made diagonally: The serving team must initiate the game serving the ball diagonally to the opponent’s service court. The ball must clear the non-volley zone (also known as the kitchen) and land in the service court.
2. Only one serve attempt is allowed: Unlike tennis, where players have multiple chances to serve, in pickleball, each team gets only one serve attempt. If a serve is missed, the opposing team gets a point.
3. The double-bounce rule: After the serve, the receiving team must let the ball bounce before returning it. Similarly, the serving team must allow the return to bounce before volleying it back. This double-bounce rule ensures that both teams have an equal opportunity to play the ball.
4. The non-volley zone rule: The non-volley zone is the area within 7 feet on either side of the net. Players are not allowed to enter this zone and hit the ball out of the air (volley), except when the ball bounces in this area. This rule prevents players from dominating the game standing close to the net.
5. Faults on the serve: A serve is considered a fault if it lands outside the service court, fails to clear the non-volley zone, touches the net, or is volleyed before it bounces. On a fault, the serving team loses their serve and the opposing team gains a point.
6. Faults during play: Faults can occur during play when a player hits the ball out of bounds, fails to clear the net, or steps into the non-volley zone while volleying the ball. Similar to faults on the serve, the opposing team earns a point when a fault occurs.
7. Scoring: Pickleball is typically played to 11 or 15 points, with a team needing to win two points. Only the serving team can score points. If the serving team wins a rally, they earn a point and continue to serve. If the receiving team wins a rally, they gain the serve but do not earn a point.
Now, let’s answer some common questions about pickleball:
1. Can the ball hit the net during play?
Yes, the ball can hit the net during play as long as it lands within the boundaries of the court. If it hits the net and lands out of bounds, it is considered a fault.
2. Can you hit the ball out of the air?
You can hit the ball out of the air as long as you are not standing in the non-volley zone. If you step into the non-volley zone while volleying the ball, it is considered a fault.
3. Can you step on or cross the baseline during a serve?
Yes, players can step on or cross the baseline during a serve. However, they must release the ball before their foot touches the baseline.
4. Can you serve underhand or overhand?
Both underhand and overhand serves are allowed in pickleball. Most players opt for an underhand serve, as it provides more control and accuracy.
5. Can you hit the ball off the bounce in the non-volley zone?
Yes, players can hit the ball off the bounce while standing in the non-volley zone. They are only restricted from volleying the ball out of the air in this area.
6. Can you hit the ball off the opponent’s paddle?
No, hitting the ball off the opponent’s paddle is not allowed. The ball must be hit after it bounces on the court.
7. Can the ball be hit twice the same player?
No, a player cannot hit the ball twice in a row. Each time the ball crosses the net, it must be hit a different player on the team.
8. Can you play with more than two players on each team?
No, pickleball is typically played with two players on each team. However, there are variations of the game, such as doubles and mixed doubles, where four players can participate.
9. Can you play pickleball indoors?
Yes, pickleball can be played both indoors and outdoors. Indoor courts are usually smaller and use different types of balls suitable for indoor play.
10. Can you hit the ball out of bounds?
Hitting the ball out of bounds is considered a fault, and the opposing team earns a point. The ball must land within the boundaries of the court to remain in play.
11. Can you hit the ball with your hand instead of a paddle?
No, players must use a paddle to hit the ball. Using hands or any other body part to hit the ball is not allowed.
12. Can you change sides during the game?
Players can switch sides with their partner during the game, but only after scoring a point.
13. Can you play pickleball on a tennis court?
Yes, pickleball can be played on a tennis court, either using temporary pickleball lines or utilizing the existing tennis court lines.
14. Can the ball be caught or carried on the paddle?
No, the ball cannot be caught or carried on the paddle. It must be hit with a clean stroke without any prolonged contact.
Knowing the seven rules of pickleball is essential to enjoy and excel in this exciting sport. By understanding these rules and guidelines, players can engage in fair and competitive gameplay. So grab a paddle, find a partner, and start enjoying the thrill of pickleball!