Basic Rules of Pickleball – Explained for Novices 2023

Basic Rules of Pickleball

A sport with a quirky name, “pickleball,” is a fun game. It is a concept that mixes tennis, badminton, and Ping-Pong. It has its own set of rules and guidelines. People of all ages can play pickleball. The basic rules of pickleball are similar to tennis, simple, and easy to understand. These basic pickleball rules will help you to get started. Pickleball has a few basic rules that you should become familiar with quickly.

Here are the 8 basic rules of pickleball

1- The pickleball game is played either doubles or singles

2- Who will serve the pickleball decided by the toss

3- Only the server scores the point

4- Two bounce rule

5- Game ends at 11 points or more

6- Non-volley zone

7- Volleyserves are only allowed by the underhand serves

8- The ball needs to stay in bounds

Suppose you play the game the first time; the basic rules of pickleball make it more exciting and competitive. As players progress, more complicated rules are introduced. You are at the right site if you want to know about the most common basic pickleball rules.

Basic Pickleball Rules

The United States of America Pickleball Association’s website has a complete list of the rules. But here we discuss the 8 basic Pickleball rules. And after learning these rules, you can play and enjoy the game. These rules are as follows:

  • Serve must be underhand
  • Two-bounce ball rule
  • Non-Volley zone rule
  • Scoring rule
  • The game is over at 11 or 15 points.
  • Doubles or singles game is played in pickleball
  • You have to serve behind the baseline
  • Only servers score the point

Let’s discuss them in detail below

Serve Must Be Underhand

The first basic rule for pickleball is that the serve must be executed underhand, with the paddle below the waist and the ball struck below the waist. Your arm needs to move in an upward arc to hit the ball. The ball can be shot out of the air (as most players do). 

Or you can hit while dropping the ball on the ground. The server’s feet must be on the playing surface or the floor behind the baseline, with at least one foot on the court or outside the imagined sideline or centerline stretch when the ball is hit. You can see in the picture for a better understanding.

Two-Bounce Ball rule

Players cannot strike the ball in the air or on the “volley” before it has bounced twice, once on each side of the court. The serving team must wait until the ball rebounds again on their side after it jumps in the receiver’s service court before moving up and playing the ball in the air. 

Lengthy exchanges in the game of pickleball are made possible by this rule. The serving size is not permitted to serve the ball well and then run to the net to “slit the throat” of their competitor. They have to wait for the return bounce while staying back. 

Beginners’ players forget this and start to move up rapidly with the serve, getting caught striking the ball in the air. The serving team’s two players must be reminded by coaches or instructors to remain at the service line until the ball lands on their side. Either team may play the ball on the bounce or in the air after it has made two bounces. 

Rules of pickleball for beginners

Non-Volley Zone Rule

The non-volley zone can be found anywhere inside the line box 7 feet from the net. Both ends of the court are designated as non-volley zones. The non-volley area is sometimes called the “kitchen line,” Players often say, “Stay out of the kitchen.” 

If your ball hits the non-volley zone on a serve, the serve will be missed; make sure it goes above it. However, you might lose the ball after the serve (a “drop-shot”). In general, the deeper the service is, the better it is. Before continuing the volley and landing in the kitchen, make sure it bounces once on each side.

Scoring Rule

Basic pickleball rules scoring can be challenging for beginners to understand the game. According to the first etiquette guideline, the server should be the only person to declare the score in pickleball.  The starting player is always the one who is positioned in the playing side’s right-hand service area. For this particular series only, that person is the first server.

The following time they receive the serve, their companion may start in the correct court, making them server number 1.  The playing team’s score is announced first, followed by the opposition’s score and the server number. In this case, the serving team has 3 points, the rival team has 4, and server number 1 is serving if the server says 3, 4, 1. The result would be 4, 4, 1 if the side serving won a point.

After scoring a point, the receiving team remains in place while the serving team changes court. Remember that the server can make only one mistake before losing its server. There is only one opportunity for you to serve, as opposed to two in tennis. 

The Game Is Over At 11 or 15 Points

Pickleball games typically finish at 11 points. The winning team wins by at least two points. “The game continues if your side has 11 points and the opposing team has 10 points“.

In some pickleball matches, the maximum is 15, while in others, it is 21. But this is rare and typically only used in some tournaments. The most popular number of pickleball players, whether you’re playing singles or teams, is 11. 

Pickleball Singles Or Doubles?

Most of the beginners think that pickleball is always double. And that’s not the right statement. Pickleball single rules provide this version of the game a different taste and is played at a high level too. But most of the time pickleball players doubles games and this game version is more popular than single pickleball.

Serve Behind The Baseline

  • The serve in pickleball must originate from behind the baseline.
  • This ensures that the ball is introduced into play from a consistent and fair position on the court.
  • If a server steps on or crosses the baseline during the serve, it results in a fault.
  • A fault awards a point to the opposing team, and the serve rotates.
  • Serving from behind the baseline prevents players from gaining an unfair advantage by encroaching on the court before the ball is in play.
  • It contributes to the integrity of the game and ensures a level playing field.
  • Players need to maintain proper foot placement, with both feet behind the baseline until the ball is struck.
  • Developing a consistent serving routine helps reinforce accurate foot positioning and reduces the risk of foot faults.

Only The Server Will Score Point

  • In pickleball, only the serving side has the opportunity to score points.
  • The serving team is the only one that can earn points in a rally.
  • If the serving team wins a rally, they are awarded a point.
  • Points are not scored by the receiving team during their turn as the server.
  • If the receiving team wins the rally, they do not score a point. Instead, they only gain the right to serve.
  • Scoring only occurs when the serving team wins a rally.
  • After each point, the serving team continues to serve, and the receiving team rotates to serve.

Basic Pickleball Rules for Beginners

  • Scoring in doubles includes three sets of numbers.
  • Sides alternate serving in doubles.
  • There is a method to remove the advantage of serving first in doubles.  
  • The ball must bounce once per side after the serve. 
  • Volleying or smashing is not allowed within the kitchen (7 feet on either side of the net).
  • Rallies are commonly lost in three ways: out-of-bounds balls, the ball bouncing twice on a side before being hit, and kitchen violations.
  • Only the serving team can score points.
  • Games must be won by a margin of 2 points.

What Are The 5 Basic Rules Of Pickleball

  1. Serve Behind the Baseline
  2. Double Bounce Rule
  3. Non-Volley Zone (Kitchen) Rule
  4. Faults and Fault Serve
  5. Only the Server Can Score Points

How Do You Play Pickleball For Beginners?

How actually I started the pickleball game and how I learned it. The mistakes you are going to make will be almost finished due to the guide for beginners.

  • Make sure that you guys know the basics of the pickleball game. For example, scoring, non-volley zone, singles or doubles, and server rules.
  • After having pickleball paddle and pickleball, Familiarize yourself with the pickleball court, which is smaller than a tennis court. It has specific boundary lines, including the kitchen zone.
  • Then Decide on the serving team. In doubles, each player on the team gets a chance to serve, and the first serve starts from the right side of the court.
  • Ensure that you are standing behind the baseline and serve the pickleball underhand and it clears the net as well.
  • Understand the double bounce rule, which means the ball must bounce once on each side (serving and receiving) before players are allowed to hit the ball in the air.
  • You cannot volley (hit the ball in the air without it bouncing) while standing in the kitchen zone. You must know the pickleball kitchen rules too before playing the game.
  • In doubles, the serving team switches sides after winning a point, and the server alternates between partners.

In the end, practice makes perfect, you will have to practice to become a master in the pickleball game.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, pickleball is a game that is fun to play and has attracted more people in recent years. The basic rules of pickleball, such as serve must be underhand, remaining behind the baseline, and avoiding the non-volley zone, must be understood and adhered to play well. Players should always act with respect for their opponents and show sportsmanship. By following the pickleball basic rules, players can find joy in this challenging game while maintaining a friendly and positive environment.


Players can switch sides with their partners after each point is scored.

No, there is no time limit to hit the ball. However, players should avoid unnecessary delays to keep the game moving smoothly. 

 Yes, but only if the ball is struck outside the no-volley zone. Players must wait for one bounce within the no-volley zone before hitting the ball. 

No, the paddle must contact the ball below the server’s waist in pickleball serving, and serving must be done underhand. 

Similar Posts