Pickleball is a paddle sport that was invented in 1965 by Congressman Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum. The game combines elements from ping-pong, badminton and tennis. It has gained popularity during the last several years as more and more pickleball courts have sprung up in parks, fitness facilities and gyms. The game is named after the Pritchard’s dog, “Pickle,” who was very interested in the game and would be allowed to keep the ball after it faulted during gameplay.

Pickleball Rules

The game is played on a court that is the same size as a traditional badminton court: 20 feet by 44 feet. Pickleball requires paddles and a plastic ball with holes, similar to a “whiffle ball,” in order to play the game. The game can be played by either a single player or a doubles team. The ball is served diagonally, and only the serving team may score a point.

In pickleball, a seven-foot area on each side of the net is named a “no volley” zone. Players may not hit the ball in this zone in order to prevent teams from spiking the ball. After the ball is served, play continues until the team faults. Play then goes to the other team. Each serve can earn one single point. The game ends when one side scores at least 11 points, winning by two points.

Pickleball Play

Play begins when the ball is served diagonally from the right-side service square. When serving, the server must keep both his or her feet behind the back line. The serve should be underhand with the paddle kept below the waist. The server is not allowed to bounce the ball prior to serving it. Instead, it must be served after being tossed into the air. If the ball touches the net and clears the “no volley” zone during a serve, the serve may be re-done.

After serving, both pickleball teams must allow the ball to bounce once on their side before hitting it back. This is known as the “double-bounce” rule. After the ball has bounced once on each side, the ball may either be volleyed or hit back after a single bounce.

A fault occurs in pickleball when the ball:

  • Is hit into an out-of-bounds area
  • Touches any part of the “no volley” zone, which includes the line
  • Is volleyed without the ball bouncing once on each side
  • Does not make it over the net
  • Is volleyed within the “no volley” zone

Pickleball Doubles Rules

The pickleball court is divided into four squares. The player on the serving team must serve diagonally to the player on the opposite side of the court. The ball must bounce once and then be hit back by this player. Play continues until one side faults. Players rotate serving after each serve is complete. #pickleball

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