What are the 5 Rules of Pickleball?

Frankly speaking, who doesn’t know how to play pickleball? Nearly everyone. But who knows about the rules of pickleball? Hardly a few. Because it’s a combination of the majority of the racket sports, hence a large number of players won’t like to go to the bits and pieces of pickleball. Not to worry about it, there are just a few rules, barely 5, so today we’re gonna discover “what are the 5 rules of pickleball”.

Generally, there are various rules of pickleball but the basic ones are just five and that’s what we have focused on in this article. Not to mention, these five rules are the base of pickleball on which the game relies. There are rule changes every year in pickleball, but these are the ones that never changes. So without wasting another second, let’s get to the rules.

Basic Pickleball rules 

Rule No.1 – Serving rules: 

Did you know, you can practice a variety of serves in pickleball? Well, you heard it right! Since there are quite a few basic pickleball rules and nothing to be stressed about, they are all easy. Besides, it also tells you how the game will start, how to keep it ongoing in the right way, and above all, how each ball is served.  

Below the waistline, get in posture
Below the waistline, get in posture, HIT!
  • The first thing is to decide which team starts the serving and definitely the strong one among the two teams cannot decide it. Hence, the flip of a coin is generally considered the best way to decide who’ll start the game. 
  • The next serving rule calls for the right position. For that purpose, you have to keep the paddle below the waistline even when it gets in contact with the ball. More precisely, the ball cannot be hit above the waistline. Additionally, you have to set your arm in the upward arc to serve rightly being in the underhand position. And lastly, keep the head of the paddle below the top part of the wrist while in contact. In 2023 pickleball rule changes, the serving rule had an editorial change in which it’s mentioned to serve the ball “with the paddle.”
  • Now comes the directions and let us tell you, the d direction for pickleball stands for “diagonal”. Meaning that the players have to stand diagonally i.e one at the left and one at the right. Likewise, the service has to start from the right and then left and have to play with the same pattern. 
  • Besides the direction, you have to take care of the lines and the way you are standing. The simple restrictions are; your feet cannot touch the court or where the sideline is extended. You must have to keep one foot behind the baseline.  
  • Finally, only one serving attempt is allowed to each side of the court. If one side made a fault, it is not allowed to make a serve afterward. 

Recently, there’s an update to the pickleball serving rule under the name of the “drop serve” against which the serving rule stands ineffective. The rule simply states dropping the ball from any height and then hitting it against the opposite side. However, you can’t put force on the ball while dropping it. 

Rule No.2 – The two-bounce rule: 

Bounce it double, saves you from trouble
Bounce it double, saves you from trouble

Whether you are aware of pickleball rules or not but you surely know what a double-bounce rule is. So what exactly does the double-bounce rule says? It states that the players have to play groundstroke on the first ball so that the ball bounce on each side of the net once. You serve and the return of the service cannot be made unless the ball has bounced. Well, after the first serve, you can have variations of your want.

Rule No.3 – Scoring rules: 

Not so odd, but the odd numbers
Not so odd, but the odd numbers!

Pickleball might be easy, but its scorings are not. In fact, that is one of the most strange scorings we have seen so far. Each game is played to either 11, 15, or 21 and is generally won by 2. For example, if one side has scored 11 but the other side has 10, the game shall continue to 15. Interestingly, you can earn a score when you are serving e.g there are no points given to the return of the serve. 

Rule No.4 – Out of bounds rule: 

Know the boundaries
Know the boundaries…!

You can hit the ball outside the boundaries in tennis, badminton, etc, but chuckles! You can’t do it here. Though, it’s one of the toughest rules since the length of the court is already condensed. If you hit the ball out of bounds, you can no longer serve and have to wait till the opposite side make a fault. 

Rule No.5 – The kitchen (non-volley) rule: 

Yes, it’s not a typo, it exactly is “Kitchen” so stop making that weird face. Never mind, you can also call it the non-volley zone it is more commonly is referred to as the kitchen. So, the non-volley zone is the area composed of 7 feet from the nets on both sides. It is also marked with the line and as per the serving rule, you have to stand beyond it (not even on the line). 

non-volley zone
And the kitchen is not where you cook!

Here, the rule is, you cannot hit the ball being in this area unless the ball has bounced. Also, you cannot step into it to volley the ball no matter how intensified the shot is. 

Well, it’s not that strict, I mean, you can enter the non-volley zone but make sure you are not volleying the ball. Otherwise, you can play different shots within. Additionally, you can jump over the non-volley zone to the out-of-bounds area, where it is allowed to volley a ball.

Frequently Asked Questions:

The ten-second rule concerns the score-calling pickleball. In detail, it means when the score is called, the server will be given 10 seconds to serve the ball. If he fails to serve the ball in these ten seconds, it will be considered as a fault. However, it has to do nothing with the receiving team i.e whether they are ready or not, the rule stays applied.

No, you can’t spike in pickleball. In fact, there’s 7 feet non-volley zone that prevents the player from spiking. However, as explained above, the balls must bounce on each side of the court before you start volleying.

Taking the 10-second rule into account, a player taking more than ten seconds to hit the ball is considered an illegal serve. In addition, backhand serves that are above the waist are also counted as illegal serve.

Chainsaw serve is an extremely spinning serve. However, a player has to roll the ball against the paddle including the grips of it until the ball is being tossed.

Let’s summarize the 5 Rules and regulations of Pickleball:

In case you are forgetting any of the points, here is a quick recap of the aforementioned rules: 

  • The ball must bounce on both sides of the court before you start volleying. (The two-bounce rule). 
  • The points in pickleball are given as 11, 15, or 21 and the game is won by two points. (Scoring rules). 
  • You can’t volley in the non-volley zone. (The kitchen rule). 
  • You can’t serve the ball above the waist. In addition, the ball has to bounce on serve and in the returning of serve. (Serving rules). 
  • The ball can not go out of the boundaries. (Out of bounds rule).

Ending note:

What’s more to say about pickleball? It’s fun and easy. However, with rules, it’s get more thrilling and aggressive and pretty much of proper nail-biting sports. All you have to do is to keep in mind all the points being explained above and you’ll not be far to master the art of pickleball. Furthermore, you can add your personal gaming style to this sport, but make sure, you are not violating any of the rules. 

Son now tell us, what are the 5 rules of pickleball? And we hope you are not telling us standing at the non-volley line of the court.

Follow me
Latest posts by HARRY ANDERSON (see all)

Leave a Comment