Pickleball: history, basic rules and features of the game


In the article “Pickleball” we will get acquainted with the sport that gives excitement, emotion and active longevity all over the world. You will learn the basic rules and features of the game.

Pickleball is a modern sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis. It was invented in 1965 near Seattle, USA, by three friends (Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, Barney McCallum) who wanted to entertain their children on a family vacation.

The result is a game that is accessible to all ages and skill levels. Today, Pickleball is one of the most popular sports in North America (popularization is about 3 million people). In Russia, Pickleball appeared in 2017 and is one of the fastest-growing sports for the older generation (average age 40 and older).

Rules of Pickleball

Pickleball is played on a badminton court: 20 feet by 44 feet (13.40 X 6.10 m). The net is 36 inches (91.44 cm) high.

Pickleball court sizes
Pickleball court sizes

On each side of the net is a 7-foot (2.13 m) non-playing zone. The rest of the court is divided into two halves, which are called the right and left serving zones.

Pickleball non-game area
Pickleball non-game area
Racket and Pickleball Ball
Racket and Pickleball Ball

As in tennis, players use a special racket and one ball, which should be different for playing in the hall and for playing outside (the hall uses a ball with a slightly smaller diameter and fewer holes).

The first serve in the match is played by toss. Before serving, the server calls the score of the game loudly and then tosses or drops the ball to below the waist with one hand and strikes the ball with the racket from below with the other. The service shall be served from the back court line on the diagonal of the court from the right side.

The ball must cross the net, bounce on the opponent’s court one time in the playing area, and only then can the receiver reflect the serve. The receiver returns the serve so that the ball goes over the net and into the opponent’s playing area. The receiver may reflect the receiver’s return only after the ball has bounced once off the court (2 bounces rule).

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Serving in Pickleball
Serving in Pickleball

Later in the point, the rule of bounces does not apply, the ball can be reflected “from the fly”. Note: You can play in the unplayed area only if the opponent’s return shot sent the ball into the unplayed area, the ball landed in the unplayed area and bounced off the court.

If the ball touched the net while serving, but landed in the opponent’s playing area, the serve should be replayed. If the ball touched the non-play area line or hit the net while serving, the ball is considered lost.

The player can serve until he loses the serve. Each even-numbered serve comes from the left zone of the court. During the game, players are prohibited from:

  • hit the ball twice;
  • hitting the ball in turn (playing in pairs);
  • send the ball into the net, out or into the player;
  • allow the ball to bounce twice off the court.

After serving, the two bounce rule applies, which requires each team to allow the ball to bounce once on their side of the court before they can hit it.

Like tennis, Pickleball is played in sets. To win a set, you must be the first to score 11 points with a 2-point advantage. If the score in the game is 10-11, the set will continue until a 2-point advantage is achieved. Only the serving side can earn a point. If the receiver wins the game, only the right to serve goes to him.

In doubles play, changing zones between partners (right to left) occurs only if they win a serve in the very first game of a set, and opponents can not switch sides.

In doubles play, a lost first service of a set passes to the opponent the right to serve. Subsequently, the partner’s lost service passes the right to serve to the second player of the team. The right to serve passes to the opponent only when the team has lost two consecutive serves.

In order to announce the score in a singles game, you need to name the number of points you have, and then – the number of points of the opponent, for example 5:2. In doubles, you must add the number of the player in your pair to the score. The player on the right side of the court is number 1 and the player on the left side of the court is number 2. The total doubles score is 5:2:1.

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Player number in Pickleball
Player number in Pickleball

The first team to score 11 points wins the set. The game consists of three sets to 2 wins. In the case of a tie in sets (for example, 1:1), then the third is appointed – a tie-break to 5 points.

In Pickleball it is very important to have good technique, the ability to move quickly around the court and be in the right position. In order to do this, players need to change their position and move often to hit the ball.

Pickleball is a sport for people who want to keep their body in good shape, as it helps to develop endurance, coordination and reaction. In addition, pickleball does not require large financial expenses, and you can start playing today by buying all the necessary equipment.

About Pickleball


In Pickleball, the "kitchen" is the non-playing area near the net, 7 feet (2.13 m) wide. The "kitchen" can only be played if the ball sent by the opponent hits this area and bounces off the court.

Despite the growing popularity of the game in the world, Pickleball will not be able to claim the Olympic status in the near future. The main reason is its popularity among the age population of the world (the average age of players is 40 years). But, it's only for now :)

A great option is clothes for playing tennis. Additionally, you can buy gloves or a special ribbon to wrap the handle "paddle", a bag to carry clothes, sunglasses, cap.

"Dink" in Pickleball is one of the most effective and tricky kicks. The ball is sent into the unplayed area with a soft kick in such a way that the opponent has no time to hit it, because the ball has almost no bounce.

( 6 assessment, average 5 from 5 )
Alexander/ author of the article

To become the best, you have to train with the best and perform against the best!

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