Pickleball Rules

How many bounces are allowed?
You can hit the ball before it bounces, or after one bounce.

Can I volley?
You can volley (hit the ball before it bounces) anytime except for the serve and return of serve.  Just remember that it needs to bounce on your side of the net once before you can volley.  So if you are the receiver, you only need to wait for the serve to bounce on your side, then you can volley any shot after that.  If you are the server, you need to wait for the receiver's return of serve to bounce on your side of the net, then you can volley any shot after that.

Where can I volley from?
You can volley from anywhere inside or outside of the court except the "non-volley zone", including the "non-volley zone line".  You are also not allowed to step into the "non-volley zone" on the follow-through of your volley.  To avoid stepping into the "non-volley zone" after a volley, you could jump to the outside of the court instead.  You could also just let the ball bounce before stepping into the "non-volley zone" to hit the ball back.

How do I serve?
You hit the serve under-arm from below the hip.  You must stand behind the baseline.  The serve must land beyond the "non-volley zone" line in the back half of the court diagonally across from the side you served from.

How do I score a point?
You only score a point by winning a point that you served.

How do I win a match?
Pickleball matches are usually best of three games, so you need to win two games to win the match.  To win a game, you need to win 11 points, or if it gets to 10 points all, you must be in front by two points.

Is on the line in?
Yes, if the ball lands on the line, it is in.  The only time it is not in, is if it is a serve and the serve lands on the "non-volley zone" line.  In this case, the serve is out, usually referred to as "short", because it landed too short in the court to be in.

What do you do at the end of a match instead of a handshake?
As strange as it seems at first, we touch the end of the handles of the paddles together.

Pickleball vs Tennis

  • The court is about 1/3 of the size.
  • The paddle is smaller with a shorter handle.
  • Serves are hit underarm.
  • Volleys can’t be hit until after the ball has bounced once on the receiver's side and once on the server's side.  This is known as the "double-bounce rule".
  • Volleys can’t be hit from or followed- through into the non-volley zone in the front section of the court.
  • Scoring is different - you only score a point if you win on your serve. The first team to score 11 points wins (must win by 2).
  • The opposition team serves after you have served and lost, then your partner has served and lost.
  • Scores have 3 numbers: server’s score - receiver’s score - server # Eg 3-4-2 = 3 points to the serving team, 4 points to the receiving team, and the 2nd person in the serving team is serving.

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