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What Are The 5 Rules of Pickleball?

Rule 1: The Ball Can’t Fall Out Of Bounds

Pickleball is like other paddle or racquet sports in that the ball cannot be lost. The lines of white on either side indicate where you can and cannot hit the ball.

You lose your serve if you hit the ball beyond the bounds. This error can put you at a disadvantage. It can also alter the course of the game.

The good news is that you don’t have to make the fatal mistake of hitting the ball beyond bounds. Pickleball has a unique requirement that the ball bounce during both the service and the return of serve. This takes away some of its benefits.

Even if the ball is “out” on your server you still have a chance of hitting the net when you return. This is where the majority of points are won.

Problems include hitting the ball out of bounds and hitting it in the net or under the net. These three errors are called ‘Faults.

Pickleball is unique because a fault allows the opposing team to win the ball. Serving is the only way to score. You can score points if you win the point by returning the service team’s point.

However, fewer errors are critical.

Your chances of winning are greater if you have fewer mistakes.

Experts will tell that fewer errors mean more wins. Even 5.0 players will hit a lot of safe shots, allowing their opponents to make mistakes.

Pickleball that is error-free wins.

Quick TipIt’s easy to make a pickleball court right in your driveway. You can also check my guide to making temporary pickleball courts if you have some extra practice.

Proper Serving Regulations Must Be Followed

As explained by Proiest, the serving regulations are quite simple. These are the steps to help you get started in pickleball.

  1. The flip of a coin or random number selection can determine the server. The server has no advantage, so it’s a fair playing field for both sides.
  2. The ball must be held below the waistline and underhand. This is essential for the game’s start. To ensure the service starts from the right distance, keep one foot behind the baseline.
  3. You should hit the ball diagonally towards the opposite side of the court. Singles play requires that the ball is not hit directly across the court. The ball must be hit from the right side; the next service will be on the left side.
  4. If you serve incorrectly or commit a fault, your next serve will either be served to your partner if you are playing doubles or directly to your opponent.

The serving rules are not too difficult, as you can see. You don’t need to worry about losing points, or giving them away to the opposition team as long as your serve is within the bounds.

“The Double Bounce Rule”

This is perhaps the most important and unique rule in pickleball. It’s a rule that many newcomers forget, especially if they are the ones serving.

It is easy to pass the ball to the opposing team by letting it bounce twice on your side. You must ensure that the ball bounces only once on your side if you are serving it or hitting it back to it. Your service ends when the ball bounces twice.

That being said, you must have at least one bounce on each side for both the serve and the return of serve. You must ensure that the ball bounces once it is in your direction after they have served.

Pickleball is unique in that the serve must bounce back. If you serve, and your opponent hits a hard return, you must let the ball bounce before you play it.

Once the two-bounce rule is completed, either side may play the ball in the air or let it bounce.

This applies to singles as well as doubles.

The Ball Can’t Touch The No-Volley Zone During The Serve

The liner box is 7 feet from the net and the no-volley zone is anywhere within the liner. Each team has a separate no-volley zone.

Because it is the only area in the entire play area that highlights regions, you’ll be able to identify the location of the kitchen line. It is also known as the “kitchen-line”.

People will say, “Stay out of the Kitchen” which means you can’t enter this area of the court unless your ball bounces within this quadrant.

If the ball touches the no volley zone on the server, you lose your serve. You must Serve beyond that. You can then drop the ball in the kitchen. This is known as a “drop shot” and is a key shot in pickleball.

Serving is about more than just the kitchen. Instead, strive for the baseline. The deeper you serve, the better. For any skill level, it is important to keep your opponent at the baseline and you at the kitchen line.

To put it simply, in order to enter the kitchen, the ball must touch the floor. However, only after a legal service has been completed. It’s easy to hit the ball outside the no-volley area on serves but is also the hardest shot to consistently hit.

You can offer your services above the kitchen line, but not too deep. This invites your opponent to charge and quickly get to the kitchen.

You should not hit the ball too deep. This can lead to the ball being thrown out of bounds. It takes practice to get it right.

Pickleball Ends At 11, 15, or 21 points

Pickleball is a traditional game that ends at 11 points. The winning team must win by at least 2 points. The game will continue if you have 11 points and your opponent has 10.

Pickleball games can have a score of 15 or more, while others can go up to 21. The most common pickleball point totals are 11 and 15. If you are playing doubles, the most common point totals are 15 or 21. The total can be discussed with your team as well as the opponents.

The point total is the only factor that can affect rule differences. If a game is played to 11 points, both teams will switch sides when the first team reaches 6 points. Games that are played to 15 or 21 points switch sides whenever the first team reaches 8 points.


Pickleball can be a fun, simple game. Pickleball is a simple game that everyone can play. However, every beginner should know a few basic rules. This article will teach you everything you need to start playing pickleball immediately.

This post was written by Kristian D’an, a pickle pall specialist with Pickleball Connection. Pickleball Connections is a private club offering the latest news, training, sportswear, supplements, and more. For exclusive deals, and to stay up to date on everything Pickleball click here for more information.

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