If you’ve noticed that pickleball has taken over the scene among all the rec fields in your neighborhood and all your friends are obsessed, you wouldn’t be alone. Recent statistics show that pickleball has claimed the title of the swiftest-growing sport in the United States, with a nearly 40% boost in popularity over the last two years. The player count has risen to a national tally of more than 4.8 million with even noteworthy figures like Tom Brady and LeBron James heavily invested in the sport.
Looking to join in on the craze yet unsure of all the rules and lingo? In this article we’re diving into the world of pickleball rules! We’ve got you covered from paddles to those fancy shots and any sneaky pickleball slang that might bounce your way during the game. Before you can start the game though, you will need to know about the court itself and what’s off limits during play.
The Pickleball Court
Imagine a pickleball court, a 20×44 feet court that looks like a mix of a tennis court mixed and badminton court. The court has right and left service courts just like in tennis. And right upfront, there’s a 7-foot no-volley zone, the “kitchen,” where volleys aren’t allowed. Sounds crazy, we know, but pay attention to the court diagram below followed by area descriptions so you can follow along.
Non-Volley Zone: Think of this as a no-go area, 7 feet from the net’s front on both sides. No hitting the ball out of the air when you’re here. It’s like a strategic spot where volleys are off-limits.
Non-Volley Line: This is the line that says, “Don’t cross!” It’s parallel to the net and marks the edge of the non-volley zone. So, no volleys around this line.
Centerline: Picture the dividing line right down the middle of the service court. It splits things in half from the no-volley zone to the baseline.
Sideline: Those are the lines on the court’s sides. They’re like the borders, showing you where the action happens.
Baseline: This is the back boundary line. It’s like the court’s rear end, and it’s usually about 22 feet from the net.
The Basic Rules of Pickleball
Alright, let’s break down the basic rules of pickleball quickly:
Rule #1: It all starts with a serve. The player on the right side of the court, looking at the opponents, takes the first shot. They serve diagonally into either the right or left service area.
Rule #2: Keep it underhand. When you serve, it’s all about the underhand style. No fancy overhand swings here Venus Williams. Your arm needs to give the ball an upward slap, and the contact should be below your waist. You can either hit the ball while it’s up in the air (like most folks do), or let it drop and then hit it.
Rule #3: Play until someone messes up. After the serve, the game keeps going until someone commits a “fault.” That’s when a point ends. There are three basic ways you can fault: if your serve doesn’t go over the kitchen area (including the line), if a shot goes out of bounds, or if it hits the net.
Rule #4: No volleys in the kitchen. Imagine a no-volley zone on each side, which we call the “kitchen.” This means no hitting the ball while it’s in the air (volleying) if any part of your body is inside the kitchen. Even the kitchen line is a no-go. They put this rule in place to keep things fair and exciting.
Rule #5: Short shots are your ticket to the kitchen. If your opponent plays a short shot (dink) that lands in the kitchen, you’re good to enter and hit from there. Dinks are like the tactical moves of pickleball, and they’re pretty important.
Rule #6: Bounce it twice before you volley. Before you go all ninja and volley the ball out of the air, it has to bounce at least once on each side. So, don’t jump the gun – let it bounce first.
Rule #7: Winning points on your serve only. The points only roll in when you’re the one serving. Keep serving until you lose a point. After every point you win on your serve, you switch sides with your partner and serve to the other team.
Rule #8: Both of you take a turn at serving. In a doubles game, both players get a chance to serve in each turn. And those numbers people shout? They’re like a secret code that tells who’s serving.
Rule #9: First to 11 points, but by 2. The game’s goal is to reach 11 points first, but with a twist – you have to win by a margin of 2 points. So, if it’s 10-10, the game isn’t over. It keeps rolling until someone takes a two-point lead. This can lead to some really thrilling games!
And there you have it, the lowdown on pickleball rules. It might sound a bit tangled at first, but once you start playing, it all falls into place and makes for some seriously fun matches! Stay tuned because next time we’ll be talking about scoring as well as adding to our lingo list! Until then, remember, life is short, play pickleball!
Pickleball in Ponte Vedra Beach and The Beaches
- South Beach Park Pickleball Courts, 2514 S Beach Pkwy, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
- Huegenot Tennis Park, 218 16th Ave S, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
- Jarboe Park Pickleball Courts, 510 Florida Blvd, Neptune Beach, FL 32266
- Donner Park, 2072 George St, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233
About The Author
Jenn Heller is the Operations Manager for The Volen Group, Keller Williams Luxury International, a top real estate team in Ponte Vedra Beach. Jenn has over 18 years experience in Real Estate all in Ponte Vedra Beach, she is an Atlantic Beach resident via Long Island, NY since 1991, a book worm, and loves sports, dogs and the beach.