How To Play Pickleball

Pickleball is pretty simple to learn. The scoring aspect of the game may take a little longer, but your partner or opponents will help you. Most groups will have the knowledgeable players introduce the game to new players and teach them the basics. The game is similar to tennis, ping pong, and badminton. Below are key factors on how to play the game.


Serving

Doubles Play: Determine which side will serve first. Most clubs have a set starting area or if that is not the case, one can call out heads or tales when flipping a coin. Once starting position is set, play begins by calling out the score of 0-0-2. 0-0 is the score, and 2 is the server number. The side serving first will only receive one serving chance. The server stands behind the line in the right service area, and serves the ball underhand into the opposite court service area. The ball must clear the non-volley zone (kitchen) and land within the opposing side's right service area. This includes the outside baselines and center line of the court. Only one serve attempt is given, unless the ball touches the net and lands in the appropriate service area. The serve is re-done on a let / net serve. Serving continues if points are won, with the same player alternating sides on each point won. If the point is not made, the opposing team starts the serve with the player on the right side of the court, giving both players a chance to serve and win points. Once the first player loses their turn, the second player serves from the side they are at currently at.


Double Bounce Rule

The ball must bounce twice before volleying is allowed. The ball takes the first bounce on the serve to the opposing team, and when the opposing team returns the serve, the ball must bounce one more time on the service side of the court. Once both bounces have been made, the ball can be volleyed or played off a single bounce until a fault has occurred.


Volley

To "Volley" means to hit the ball directly in the air without allowing the ball to bounce. This is allowed after the first two bounces, and as long as you are outside of the "No Volley Zone". The No Volley Zone is the first 7 feet back from both sides of the net and should be clearly marked. If you volley and end up stepping into the No Volley Zone, or your paddle hits the Zone on the follow-through, this is a fault and play should stop.


Strategies

The game of Pickleball involves many strategies including unique serves, lobbing the ball, slamming on volleys, dinks (drop shots) at the net, and quick volley exchanges. Typically, the majority of the game is played close to the net, where both team engage at the No Volley Zone waiting for the other team to hit into the net or hit the ball high enough for a volley. Try to return serves to the deepest part of the court, as the opposing team has to let the ball bounce a second time, which allows time for you and your partner to get positioned close to the net. Players that have a good lob may also have an advantage, making players move out of position at the net, giving your team the advantage.

A key to Pickleball is to hit the ball back and forth until someone makes a mistake. It is really that simple. Check out these videos to learn more! Also, for upcoming clinics from our Pros, check out our Clinics and Bootcamps page.